What is Osteopathic Manual Therapy and Why did I add it to my Manual Therapy Tool Box?

Brett J Lemire DC CSCS

Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT) is a branch of manual medicine that utilizes a holistic “hands-on” approach as a means of normalizing dysfunction in the body to help the body heal itself. It is founded on the premise that the body functions as a “whole” unit and therefore all parts influence each other. Dysfunction in one body part will often result in dysfunction or pain in other parts. For example, a knee problem can result in gait issues that cause hip pain, low back pain, and even neck pain and headaches. The osteopathic approach to care recognizes that the body is capable of self-healing and self-regulation when all parts (tissues, bones, muscles, organs) are optimally functioning, structurally sound, and moving in their ideal manner. OMT uses manual manipulation of a patient’s joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and organs to restore normal motion and function of these structures, as well as to enhance blood and nerve supply to tissues to help the body’s own natural inborn healing potential.

The beauty of this drug-free, non-invasive form of treatment is that there are a wide variety of approaches that can be chosen based on the patient’s presenting condition and preference. OMT techniques range from light touch to deep tissue massage, fascial stretching, resisted muscle work, and gentle mobilizations and manipulations. A wide variety of musculoskeletal and neurologic conditions including back and neck pain, headaches, tinnitus, TMJ, shoulder pain, hip pain, and sciatica are effectively treated with OMT.

As a passionate manual therapist trained in various fields of manual therapy and sports medicine including Chiropractic, Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, Reflex Locomotion, Strength & Conditioning, as well as Posture and Rehabilitation Principles, the choice to pursue this route came naturally and easily as I searched for the best ways to help my patients and my community. An intense review- actually… relearning of deep and minute facets of human anatomy followed by exposure to new techniques has quickly changed my practice and allowed me to help my existing and new patients with care that is thorough, holistic, and very effective. I am grateful to the National University of Medical Sciences for its Osteopathic Manual Therapy program and the skills that it has put into my hands.

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