Monday, October 31, 2005

OMT and Surgery


A recent clinical trial worked to determine the efficacy of OMT in patients who recently underwent surgery for knee or hip osteoarthritis or for a hip fracture. Preliminary study results suggest that osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) may reduce pain, improve ambulation, and increase rehabilitation efficiency in patients undergoing knee or hip arthroplasty.

The full article is on JAOA.

Click here to read it.

Proof Of OMT

Positive Proof
Source: Dr.Feely D.O., FAAO website

A study published in the November 4, 1999 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine confirms what D.O.s have known for years–that OMT works. In this case, researchers examined the effectiveness of OMT for treating low back pain. Patients were divided into two groups – one treated with standard options like hot/cold packs, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication while the other group received OMT and standard care. After a twelve-week period, patients in both groups showed improvement. However, researchers learned that the patients receiving OMT required less medication and physical therapy, resulting in less side effects and lower health care costs. Another study released on OMT revealed its effectiveness in reducing pain after a hysterectomy. Researchers measured the amount of morphine to treat patients’ pain as well as their perception of their pain levels. Upon the study’s completion, it was determined that administering OMT significantly reduced patients’ needs for pain medication. By incorporating OMT into their practice of complete medicine, D.O.s are providing the most comprehensive care available today.

OMT and Headaches


Osteopathic Manipulation and Headaches
Source: Dr.Feely D.O., FAAO website.

There is growing evidence that primary headache disorders may have a strong association with disorder of the upper cervical region. Clinical studies have implicated pathophysiology of the first three cervical vertebrae as a cause of headache pain. A single-blinded study was performed to determine whether a correlation between headache and somatic dysfunction of the upper cervical spine exists.
A physician examined 43 subjects without knowledge of their headache history. 25 of 43 subjects had a tension of migraine headache within 24 hours of examination; 24 of these 25 subjects (96%) had a somatic dysfunction at the 2nd cervical vertabrae. 18 of 43 subjects did not have any headache within 24 hours of examination; 8 of these 18 subjects (44%) had somatic dysfunction at the level of the 2nd cervical vertabrae.
Study findings correlate with current evidence that afference stimulation from the 1st cervical vertabrae to the 3rd cervical vertabrae innervated structures may activate trigeminal sensory fibers in the brain stem which trigger the trigemino vascular system believed to cause migraine and possibly, tension-type headaches. Alternatively, these lesions may be the result of a central headache event rather than a cause. Further studies to determine if Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy can reduce headache symptoms in patients with chronic headache may help to further delineate the role of the cervical spine in the cause of primary headache disorders.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Dealing with Back Pain During Pregnancy


Think of late pregnancy. What do you think of? - That healthy pregnant glow? The smile and cheer associated with the idea that a new life is about to be brought into this world? Baby showers?

No, way! Most women (and the people who love them) who have been at the end of a long pregnancy think of other things: swollen feet, difficulty arising from a chair, difficulty catching a breath because baby is huge and pushing Mommy’s lungs into her throat, heart burn, and back pain.

Pregnancy is an incredible gift - it would be even better if gestation only lasted seven months, instead of nine. By the time Mom is nine months pregnant, the baby and Mom’s body have reached sizes that put tremendous strains and demands on all of Mom’s systems.

Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) can provide temporary relief for some of these problems. There are even treatments which I have taught prospective fathers to do on their partners at home, when the pain returns. Unfortunately, the return of pain is virtually inevitable until the source of the bodily stress (i.e. bun in the oven) is gone.


Two of the most common types of low back pain seen in pregnant women in my practice are lumbosacral (i.e. low back) pain and Pyriformis muscle (i.e. buttock region) pain. I’ll talk about lumbosacral pain, today and pyriformis pain, tomorrow.
Lumbosacral pain, occurring where the lumbar spine sits on the sacrum (tailbone), happens because baby sticks out so far in front of Mom’s spine that it pulls on the spine causing the forward curve of the spine to increase dramatically. The fifth lumbar vertebra can actually be slid forward by this pulling. Ouch.

Source: Colorado Spine Institute

Fortunately, there is a neat remedy called the Frog-Leg Technique which an osteopath can perform on Mommy. Without going into detail, Mommy lies on her back while the D.O. slides his hand under her tailbone. While the doctor gently pulls the tailbone down toward Mom’s feet, he asks Mom to do a few things, such as taking a deep breath and holding it. All of this pulls the sacrum out of the way and allows the fifth lumbar vertebra to slide back into place. The nice thing about this technique is it not only reduces or eliminates pain but, when the pain returns, Dad (who has been taught how by the Doctor) can fix the problem for Mom anytime she needs it.

Who Can Benefit From OMT?


Well, according to the American Osteopathic Association

OMT can help people of all ages and backgrounds.

It can:

  • ease pain
  • promote healing
  • increase mobility

OMT is often used to treat muscle pain. But it can also help patients with a number of other health problems, among them:

  • asthma
  • sinus disorder
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • migraines
  • menstrual pain

When appropriate, OMT can complement—and even replace—drugs or surgery. In this way, OMT brings an important dimension to standard medical care.

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