Acute neck, shoulder or back pain can be debilitating. Fortunately, there are treatments that can be effective. One such treatment comes from the field of osteopathic manipulative medicine.
Osteopathic medicine focuses on the role of the joints in illness and pain. OMM is one aspect of it, specifically tailored to relieving pain – excellent for low back pain in particular.
Clinical evidence backs this up, according to Dr. Jennifer Caudle, assistant professor at the Rowan University College of Osteopathic Medicine, based in Stratford, New Jersey. Dr. Caudle is a DO, or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.
Osteopathic doctors are trained to the same degree as medical doctors, but osteopathic medicine schools place an emphasis on the role that bones and joints play in illness. The osteopathic philosophy is that the mind, body, and spirit form a single, holistic unit. Treating this trinity as a whole is vital to good health, so that’s where osteopathic manipulative medicine focuses.
Doctors of osteopathic medicine take a holistic approach, looking also at how your lifestyle and environment affect your health. The goal of osteopathic medicine as a whole is to form a partnership with you to help you get and stay healthy.
Managing And Preventing Chronic Pain
Research commissioned by the American Osteopathic Association shows that fifty percent of Americans suffer from chronic pain – pain that lasts for three months or longer. It’s quite tragic that half of all adults are dealing with this type of pain when many of them could be helped by osteopathic manipulative medicine, physiotherapy, acupuncture, or other therapies. This is one of the reasons our Hong Kong Integrative Clinic offers a wide range of therapies. We’re determined to stop the pain, an go beyond that to figure out root causes, so that it can be alleviated long term.
The AOA research also suggests that early intervention is vital to preventing pain from reaching chronic levels. As with other forms of illness, research increasingly supports the notion that pain is on a short timetable. Once pain becomes chronic – after the three-month mark – it is extremely difficult to fully resolve. Fortunately, the medical community is beginning to take heed.
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine: How It Works
OMM (also known as osteopathic manipulative treatment, or OMT) focuses on the role joints and muscles play in pain, particularly pain that becomes chronic. Osteopathic manipulative medicine can be thought of as a form of massage, but osteopathic medical practitioners are trained to be acutely aware of how muscles and the skeletal system work together to create pain – or to combat it.
The practitioner will use his or her hands to manipulate muscles and joints, targeting the root of the pain. Sometimes pain is a symptom of an issue in a part of the body that appears unrelated to the pain’s location.
Fortunately, your osteopathic doctor understands how muscle and bone function together.
Common Causes Of Chronic Pain
Here are three common causes of back pain, and what you can do about them:
Avoid overusing and overstraining your muscles and joints. You are particularly vulnerable when you first start an exercise program. Start slow and light.
Sitting For Extended Periods
Recent research suggests sitting for hours at a time is as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes. If your job requires that you work at a desk, set an alarm for every half hour. Take a break and move around. Stretch.
Lifting Heavy Items
Incorrect posture when lifting can play a significant role in developing chronic pain. When you lift, bend your knees and keep your back straight. Do not twist as you lift.
Pain: Address It Early
If you experience pain that lasts more than a few weeks, it’s imperative that you have it looked at early, to avoid it becoming chronic. Don’t “tough it out.” If you don’t seek treatment, you may find that you must live with it for the rest of your life. But if you catch it early enough, you may only require minimal treatment.
Your osteopath or osteopathic doctor may recommend therapies you can apply at home, such as yoga and stretches that target those muscles causing the pain. We’re very excited to have a new Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine joining our practice very soon!