Reduce pain with manual therapy
Christina Wong, DO, can help you get back to your life.
Learn about other ways to ease your pain
Doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs), like myself, believe that it's important to care for the whole patient. We don't just care about what's causing your pain. After all, people are more than just their body parts. We are unique human beings.
As a DO, I work to understand how the body's systems work together. One of the ways I help to ease pain, promote healing and help patients move better is through osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT).
What is OMT?
OMT is a set of hands-on techniques that may reduce pain and help people get back to their regular activities. Think of it as trying to get the body back to “neutral.” Using OMT, I move a patient’s muscles and joints through stretching, gentle pressure and resistance.
DOs have extra training and education in the musculoskeletal system, which includes the muscles, bones and joints. This means they are very familiar with how the body's bones, nerves and muscles work together.
OMT may be used along with traditional medicine, which usually includes medicines, injections and other tests.
Many people wonder how DOs differ from chiropractors. There is a lot of overlap. But chiropractors usually focus on spinal adjustments and the nervous system.
DOs use similar spinal therapies, but they also offer other types of care for the nervous and circulatory systems. OMT treatments may help improve blood flow and range of motion, while decreasing pain.
What is OMT used for?
OMT may help patients of all ages with several problems and injuries, such as:
- Shoulder pain
- Frozen shoulder
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Sprained ankles
- Costochondritis (swelling of cartilage, the smooth covering on the end of bones, that connects the rib to the breastbone)
- Sacroiliac joint pain (sometimes called SI joint pain, which affects the lower back)
Types of OMT treatments
There are several types of OMT treatments:
- Soft tissue treatments
- Direct treatments (taking a body part to where it does not want to go)
- Indirect treatments (taking a body part into a direction it does like to go)
Soft tissue treatment is when your provider applies pressure to muscles and soft tissue through stretching and kneading. This may help to loosen the tissue or prepare patients for direct treatments.
Direct treatments include:
- Myofascial release (therapy to relax stiff or painful muscle tissue)
- High-velocity, low amplitude techniques (adjustments of the spine or other joints where patients may or may not hear a “pop”)
- Fascial distortion (patient tightens and then relaxes muscles while the provider applies pressure and moves parts of the body to ease tension and improve range of motion)
Indirect treatments include:
- Myofascial release (described above)
- Balance ligamentous tension (provider balances the patient’s body part and makes small corrections to it, so the muscles and tissues relax)
- Counterstrain (provider finds a tender point, moves it into a comfortable position, and then moves it back to the original position to reset how the body senses pain in that area)
How should a patient get ready for OMT?
- Take your regular morning medicines.
- Arrive early and fill out any new patient paperwork.
- Wear comfortable clothing.
What should a patient expect during OMT?
Think of this as a hands-on appointment. Your provider may ask you to resist certain movements, do active motions or shift positions.
While progress is always the goal, it's important to have reasonable expectations. For some problems, you may need to visit more than once. Also, your provider might need more information about your issues and may not offer treatments at the first visit.
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.