Treating Back Pain With An Osteopathic Doctor
By High Desert Family Medicine
May 15, 2020
Osteopathic physicians (DO) are differentiated from other medical professionals through their focus on the body as a whole. They believe that the musculoskeletal system is one of the key elements of health. That’s why if you experience back pain, your osteopathic physician focuses on treating the cause, not the symptoms of your discomfort. Osteopathic treatments focus on Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy (OMT).
Why Try Osteopathic Manipulation (OMT)?
OMT is an evaluatory system of the entire body. The purpose of it is to help patients achieve normalcy and harmony. DO’s believe that discrepancies in the spine affect the nerves, damaging the organs and causing medical problems. Manipulating the spine with manual pressure treats back problems and pain.
Types of Osteopathic Manipulation
- Muscle energy technique: The patient gets into the specified position, using their muscles to push against a counterforce applied by the DO.
- Thrust technique: This is also known as the cracking form of manipulation. High-velocity force to the joint creates motion. This reverses tissue changes, range-of-motion, and tenderness.
- Soft tissue technique: Patterns of deep pressure and traction are placed on the soft tissue around the spine.
- Counterstain technique: The patient moves back and forth from a painful position to a comfortable one.
Talk to your osteopathic physician about whether OMT is right for you. Patients with bone cancer or infection, spinal fusion, or osteoporosis should avoid this treatment.
Finding the Right Osteopathic Treatment for You
Everyone has different needs when it comes to treating their lower back pain. A technique that works perfectly for one patient may not work on the next. That’s why it’s up to you and your DO to find what works best for you. Besides the types of OMT mentioned above, there are many other techniques. Your DO selects the proper treatment based on your age, pain levels, and medical conditions. Not all patients can handle the intensity of various high-velocity types.
There is no standard time frame for osteopathic treatment of the lower back. It all depends on what you and your DO decide. The recommended treatment format starts with patients receiving treatment 1-2 times a week for the first 3-4 weeks. Then the frequency is downgraded to once every two weeks for 1-2 months. Finally, OMT is performed monthly for 2-3 months.