A DO, or osteopathic physician, is a fully licensed physician able to practice the full scope of medicine within her/his specialty training (e.g., family medicine, pediatrics, cardiology, neurology, etc.).
A DO’s medical training includes the same four-year curriculum of basic sciences and clinical medicine as an MD (allopathic physician); however, osteopathic medical students also complete over 500 additional hours of training in manual medicine, osteopathic principles and practices, and anatomy. Although all DOs are trained in basic osteopathic principles and practices, not all DOs go on to use OMT regularly.
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is the therapeutic application of manually (hands-on) guided forces by an osteopathic physician. OMT is intended to address restrictions of the tissues, fluids, organs, bones, muscles, and physiologic systems of the body. Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) is the application of osteopathic philosophy, structural diagnosis, and the use of OMT in the diagnosis and management of a patient.
DOs who practice with OMT use a highly trained sense of touch to feel subtle changes in tension and tissue quality throughout the whole body and to diagnose and treat areas of strain or dysfunction. Osteopathic practitioners can feel areas in the body that have been affected by past events, including old injuries, accidents, trauma, and/or illness. The body often learns to compensate for these past traumas and injuries, which can lead to current symptom expression (e.g., pain, loss of function, poor healing, etc.) days, weeks, months, or years beyond when the initial event occurred.
Diagnosis and treatment are linked as the osteopathic practitioner works to activate the body’s innate ability to heal by providing gentle and targeted support where needed to return the tissues to a state of balance and allow the body to release strain, trauma, and dysfunction, thereby restoring the system back to health.
A Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (NMM) physician is a DO or MD who has completed a three-year residency training in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine/Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (NMM/OMM) following her/his medical degree and has become board-certified in this field. While all DOs learn the basics of OMT/OMM, this an NMM physician’s specialty and area of expertise.
Almost any condition, disease process, illness or injury can benefit from an osteopathic treatment, as the goal of any treatment is to support the body’s innate healing process. For a more specific list, please see: What We Can Treat with OMM.
DOs (Doctors of Osteopathy) are fully licensed physicians and have the scope of a four-year conventional medical training. In addition, DOs also complete a three-to-five-year (or more) residency training in any specialty of her/his choosing.
Chiropractors are licensed to address and treat the spine, whereas DOs are licensed to address and treat the full scope of the patient, including muscles, bones, organ systems, cranium/brain, extremities (arms, legs), nervous system, circulatory system, lymphatics, nervous system, etc.
Many patients may refer to the work we do as craniosacral therapy (CST). Craniosacral therapy (CST) is perhaps a more well-known term; however, there is a difference between cranial osteopathy and craniosacral therapy.
Cranial osteopathy, or osteopathy in the cranial field (OCF), is practiced by a licensed osteopathic physician (DO) or allopathic physician (MD). It is not different from osteopathy and follows all the principles of osteopathic treatment, only it addresses the specific anatomy and physiology of the head.
Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a light-touch form of bodywork that was developed by an osteopathic practitioner for massage therapists and other bodyworkers. There are no national standards or regulations for craniosacral therapists and CST courses can be completed in as few as four days with minimum prerequisites. As such, CST is done by a large variety of practitioners with varying amounts of education and experience. Although CST can be helpful for many people, it is important to understand the limitations of a craniosacral therapist. Craniosacral therapists are not licensed physicians and thus are not able to diagnose and generally have limited, if any, medical backgrounds.
Watching OMM and cranial osteopathy occur can be likened to watching someone read a book. From the outside, it looks like nothing may be happening; however, as the person reading the book, you can see a whole world of structure, tensions, restrictions, depth, and release. The story continues to unfold as the ‘book’ is read.
In any osteopathic treatment, the osteopathic practitioner is connected to the living anatomy of the patient before her. She listens carefully with her hands so that the patient’s body can tell the story of what has happened and direct the treatment. The osteopathic practitioner is guided by these living forces to support a re-balance or release within areas of strain or dysfunction. The patient’s body uses these moments of re-balance to return to a new state of healthy physiology. All of this happens during the course of the treatment, even though the patient may not be consciously aware of feeling some or any of these changes right in the moment.
Ahead of your visit, please log in to your portal account and complete the relevant tabs (on the right hand side), including: My Account Details, Questionnaires (New Patient Adult or New Patient Pediatric), My Medications, My Supplements, My Allergies, etc. This will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.
Please bring any relevant medical records with you including lab tests, xrays and MRIs.
Wear comfortable clothing (loose, light-weight) and please bring and wear your mask.
If possible, please schedule other treatments, including massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, or homeopathy at least 2-3 days after your osteopathic appointment to allow your system adequate time to fully respond to each treatment before the next is introduced.
During your visit, we will review your completed new patient information and complete an initial exam, including an osteopathic structural exam. For much of the visit, the patient lies on the table while diagnosis and treatment occur.
Osteopathic treatment is generally quite gentle, as I go at “tissue speed” with my hands to listen to your body’s unique history of stresses and strains and work to remove and release old patterns of function in the bones, muscles, organs, fascia, central nervous system, etc to allow a new pattern of function to emerge. Most patients find treatment to be quite relaxing and enjoyable.
After an osteopathic treatment, your body requires some time to integrate the changes made during the treatment. Occasionally, some patients will have a mild treatment reaction, experienced as soreness for 1-2 days afterward. For 2-3 days following your visit, it is helpful to:
Drink plenty of water
Avoid vigorous exercise
Avoid other treatments including, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, etc.
Healing time is subject to many factors, so this will vary from patient to patient. Depending on the underlying issue, acute adult concerns, infants, and children often respond quite quickly, such as in 1-2 treatments. Generally the more chronic the issue or injury pattern, the longer the healing time may take.
Initial patients often come in weekly for 2-3 weeks, then as your body begins to respond to the treatment, we can schedule appointments less frequently, perhaps every 2-3 weeks. On average, you should expect to see some signs of improvement within three to five treatments.
If desired, after your initial recovery, quarterly or bi-annual visits can be helpful to maintain your wellness.
Yes, the practice naturally goes through periods where the waiting time for a first appointment can fluctuate; however, we will make every effort to schedule your appointment as soon as possible.
Yes, once you have registered through the portal as a new patient, or if you are an established patient, you may choose to schedule your own visit through the ‘My Appointments’ tab on the right hand side within the portal.
No, Osteopathic Care is a subspecialty practice, providing osteopathic manipulative treatment. While our physicians are fully licensed, we do not provide routine annual examinations or management of primary medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. We do work with your primary care physician and other specialists to help provide a comprehensive treatment plan as needed.
Yes, as needed according to your medical history, symptoms, and response to osteopathic treatment, we may order labs, imaging and prescriptions. These are typically covered under your health insurance and we would make sure this is so before ordering anything.
In addition, we may suggest saliva studies to look at cortisol levels, sex hormones, neurotransmitters or other studies. These are generally not covered by your insurance, but would be covered through a health savings or flex account (HSA or FSA). These are discussions we have together so you are fully aware of any additional costs before ordering anything.