Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is a hands-on diagnosis and treatment modality in which D.O.s receive specialized training. OMT addresses dysfunction (tenderness, asymmetry, restriction, or tissue texture changes) in the musculoskeletal system, which may be causing pain or secondary dysfunction in any of the organ systems. OMT can be tried before progressing to more invasive and costly interventions such as pharmaceuticals and surgery. Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (NMM) — or Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) — is a specialty that D.O.s may enter, which focuses specifically on the relationship of structure to function and often uses OMT as part of patient care. D.O.s in any specialty may use OMT.
In accordance with tenets of osteopathic medicine, OMT is used to improve patients’ structure and physiological function so that the body’s ability to maintain its health is optimized.
OMT has a wide range of techniques that vary from very gentle touch to treatments that employ quick and specific application force. D.O.s can choose from these many techniques to diagnose and treat their patients, as well as to prevent illness or injury.
OMT is one of the defining skills of D.O.s. Based on empirical evidence and developed by generations of Osteopathic physicians, it has been demonstrated to improve patient outcomes for a multitude of clinical conditions. Perhaps most famously, OMT has been shown to improve lower back pain and reduce the use of pain medication, but there are many more conditions that can potentially benefit from these treatments — including ear and sinus disorders, repetitive stress injuries, sprains, strains, headaches/migraines, Neck pain, menstrual pain, and irritable bowel syndrome can also be helped by proper application of OMT.
Even though D.O.s also use high-tech medical procedures and pharmaceuticals in their treatment plans, sometimes a healing touch is the most appropriate treatment for patients.