Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine or OMM is a hands-on approach in medical science that focuses on the musculoskeletal system to maintain overall health. Practitioners of OMM, also known as Osteopathic doctors or Osteopathic Manipulative therapy specialists, generally use a holistic approach to medicine. They consider the patient as a whole and also take the patient’s lifestyle, environment, and emotional well-being into account.
Types of Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy
Although there are several different types of OMM treatment, not every procedure is suitable for seniors as they are more sensitive to aggressive forms of treatments. There are a few low-impact and gentle Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy techniques well-suited for older adults which are as follows:
For joint mobilization, practitioners use gentle manual techniques to manipulate the joints and restore normal movement patterns. This mobilization technique also helps in reducing pain and stiffness caused by conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Soft tissue mobilization
This OMM technique also uses gentle manual techniques that manipulate soft tissue to improve the flexibility and function of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Soft tissue mobilization can help alleviate several conditions such as musculoskeletal pain, back pain, and headaches.
It is a gentle, non-invasive approach to treating the bones and soft tissues of the head, neck, and spine. Craniosacral therapy can help alleviate conditions such as headaches, neck pain, and stress.
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This technique is used to relieve tension and pain in the fascia, the connective tissue surrounding muscles and organs. Myofascial release can help provide relief conditions such as musculoskeletal pain, back pain, and headaches.
It is a gentle massage technique used to improve the flow of lymphatic fluid and reduce swelling. OMM practitioners use gentle manual techniques to manipulate the lymphatic system, restoring normal flow and reducing swelling. It can help alleviate conditions such as edema, lymphedema, and swelling caused by an injury.
Who should Consider OMM?
A study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine can be an effective treatment option for individuals with chronic pain, such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches. It is also beneficial for individuals with various musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Besides, this alternative treatment can help improve joint mobility, reduce pain and stiffness, and improve overall function as well.
Please note that OMM is not appropriate for all individuals, and seniors should consult with a qualified Osteopathic doctor to determine if OMM is a suitable treatment option for them.
Who can Recommend OMM?
OMM is recommended by qualified Osteopathic Physicians (DO), trained in manual therapy techniques and specialize in the use of OMM as a treatment modality. They are specialists who undergo extensive training in anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics, and use their knowledge of the musculoskeletal system to diagnose and treat various conditions through OMM.
However, other healthcare providers, such as chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists, may also recommend OMM as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for certain conditions.
Benefits of Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy
1. Relieves pain
OMM works by addressing the underlying cause of chronic pain and restoring normal movement patterns, which can help improve overall function and quality of life.
2. Improves mobility
It can be especially beneficial for seniors with musculoskeletal conditions or those with a history of an injury. It works by improving joint mobility and reducing stiffness, which can eventually enhance overall physical function.
3. Corrects posture and alignment
By restoring normal movement patterns and relieving pain and discomfort, this therapy can improve posture. Seniors who spend a lot of time in a seated position can improve their body alignment with OMM.
4. Reduces stress
This therapy has been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system and can help provide relaxation. It is especially beneficial for individuals who are experiencing stress-related conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
5. Improves sleep
By reducing pain, discomfort, as well as relaxing the nervous system, OMM can significantly improve sleep quality and work as an effective treatment option for common sleep disorders like insomnia.
It is important to note that the specific benefits of OMM may vary depending on the individual and their specific condition, and every individual should consult with a qualified Osteopathic Physician to determine if OMM is a suitable treatment option for their specific needs.
Risks and Precautions
Temporary discomfort during treatment
During an OMM session, seniors may experience some discomfort when a healthcare provider manipulates and treats the affected area. This discomfort is usually mild and temporary and should go away shortly after the OMM session is completed.
Mild soreness or stiffness after treatment
Post-treatment, some patients may experience mild soreness or stiffness in the affected area. This is a normal response to manual therapy and should subside within a few days after the treatment. But if the issue persists, please consult a primary care physician at the earliest.
Interactions with other treatments
OMM may sometimes interact with other treatment options, such as prescription medications or physical therapy. Therefore, seniors should inform their healthcare provider of any other treatments they are undergoing prior to starting OMM.
Additionally, seniors suffering from bone fractures or certain infections may not be suitable candidates for OMM and should consult with their healthcare provider before proceeding with the treatment.
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OMM is often considered a complementary or alternative medical option for those trying to manage chronic pain, musculoskeletal conditions, or other health concerns with a non-invasive, drug-free approach. While OMM is not a replacement for conventional medical treatments when it comes to seniors, it can definitely be an effective complementary therapy for many.
Seniors must discuss their healthcare needs and goals with a healthcare provider to determine if OMM is a suitable complementary or alternative medical option for their specific needs. To consult a primary care physician, contact EliteCare Health Centers, one of the best Florida medical clinics and schedule an appointment at your nearest center.