Osteopathic/Manual Medicine

The three tenets of Osteopathic Medicine are:

  1. the body must be treated as a whole unit, including its connection to mind and spirit;
  2. structure and function are interrelated; and 
  3. the body has a natural inclination to heal itself.

Therefore, prevention and wellness are central to osteopathy. Doctors of Osteopathy (DO) go through educational training similar to allopathic (MD) doctors, and are similarly licensed to practice a full scope of medicine in any specialty of choice.  Manual medicine can help to change the resting tension in a muscle or tendon, change or “reset” a trigger point, alter the tension or torque within a ligament or fascial plane, change the alignment or asymmetry of bones or joints, help to alter structures that are impinging on nerves, release suppressed emotion that may be held in the my fascial tissues and improve lymphatic flow, visceral function, cerebral spinal fluid flow and immune function.

To schedule an appointment, call our toll-free scheduling service at (844) 747-0474.

What is a "DO", a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine?

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs), like Doctors of Medicine (MDs), are physicians and surgeons in the US who are licensed to practice medicine by state medical boards. As a part of their medical school education, DOs receive special training in the musculoskeletal system, including the body's interconnected system of nerves, muscles, fascia and bones and their relationships to the lymphatic system, the vascular system, and organs. They combine this knowledge with the latest advances in medical technology to provide care to their patients.

DOs practice in all medical specialties, including primary care, pediatrics, OBGYN, emergency medicine, psychiatry, surgery and more. Some DOs specialize in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) and other DOs combine the practice of OMM with another specialty. Like MDs, DOs may apply for board certification when they achieve expertise in medical specialty.

For more information, please visit the American Osteopathic Association (link to: https://osteopathic.org/).

What is Osteopathic Manual Medicine? 

Osteopathic manipulative (also known as manual) medicine (OMM) is manual medicine performed by a physician with expertise in osteopathic manual treatment (OMT). There's an emphasis on a whole-person approach to treatment and care. Physicians trained in OMM have an in depth understanding of the structure/anatomy and its relationship with how the body functions.

Physicians who specialize in OMM develop expert palpatory skills that enable them to feel parts of the body that may or may not be functioning as optimally as it could be. The goal of an osteopathic treatment is to restore function in the whole person.

What does an Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) look like?

The techniques performed by OMM specialists are called Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT). A wide-range of hands-on techniques and approaches are used. Techniques include more mechanical treatment that may involve stretching, articulating joints, and range of motion to more subtle type treatments to help the body reorganize. It may involve treatment of joints, bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, organs, the nervous system, vascular system and/or lymphatic system of the body.  OMT is overall gentle and each treatment is uniquely designed for each patient depending on their needs on any given day.

These techniques include high-velocity impulse or high-velocity, low amplitude (HVLA), muscle energy, counterstrain, lymphatic techniques, visceral techniques, myofascial release, balanced tension, cranial osteopathic manipulative medicine (also known as cranial osteopathy or osteopathy in the cranial field), traditional osteopathic practices and more.

Our OMM team at UCSD has a spectrum of skillsets to serve your needs.

What should I expect during a visit?

During an OMM consultation, your physicians will perform a history, a physical exam, and develop a treatment plan based on your particular health needs. Treatments are usually done laying down on a treatment table but may also be done in other positions as needed. Each treatment is unique to your needs on any given day. Typically, OMT is gentle and should not cause pain. One study showed that 2.5% of patients had some transient increase in pain and discomfort after OMT. Response to treatment will vary depending on many factors and your DO will discuss this with you.

The effects of a treatment may continue after the treatment, so sometimes the greatest benefit and change may come days after the treatment.

How to prepare for a visit?

Please come dressed in comfortable attire, such as athletic attire. You may be asked to remove belts and shoes during the visit.

What can OMT be used to treat?

Patients of all ages, from newborns to centenarians, may find benefit from OMT.

OMT may help with a variety of health conditions. In children, OMT can help with breastfeeding issues, constipation, plagiocephaly and other musculoskeletal issues like torticollis, shoulder dystocia. We can help with issues before and after pregnancy. We are able to treat a variety of health issues including but not limited to pain (acute, chronic), musculoskeletal issues, orthopedic issues, sports related injuries, concussions and brain injuries. It can be used to help with tinnitus, headaches, assist with recovery from surgery or illness, anxiety or stress, restore balance to the autonomic nervous system, assist in respiratory problems and support the body in healing from a wide variety of different health conditions.