What is Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

We often hear the disgruntled older patients complaining that in contemporary medicine, there is an increased dependence on diagnostic tests that has replaced the use of touch by the physicians when examining the patients. Well, not the physician has abandoned the technique of touch to treat the patients. If you hear your doctor practicing osteopathic medicine (DO) recommending you to go for osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), you have never heard it before. Let’s say it is a hands-on technique that the Dos learn in medical school. 

OMT is often practiced with other treatments to cure an ailment, which can include medication and surgery. 

If you have never heard or had the OMT before, here are some of the facts you might want to know about this treatment. 

What Are Osteopathic Manipulative Techniques?

The key idea behind osteopathic medicine is that the restriction and tightness in the nerves and muscles can lead to other problems. Hence Dos trained in the OMT technique use their hands gently to move the tissues, muscle, tendons, and joints so that the restrictions can be corrected. 

This hands-on treatment method is used to remedy the mechanical aches that are often caused due to structural imbalance and other health conditions that can result from these pains. DOs also use this manipulation therapy to diagnose and then prevent other diseases that can be caused due to the imbalance. The treatment is used to help a patient with better body and joint function. 

The DOs apply light pressure on the soft tissues, joints, and muscles to manipulate them in the OMT technique. This body structural manipulation technique’s main objective is to encourage that the body tries to heal itself. This is achieved by ensuring that the bones and muscles are adequately aligned, thus warranting a balanced body structure. 

Patients can avail of OMT therapy of all ages to ease the agony and increase overall mobility. Though primarily it is used to treat a patient with muscle and joint pains, by 

  • Treating the abnormalities of the structural and tissues
  • Relieving the misalignment and joint restrictions 
  • Restoring the tissue and muscle imbalances
  • Promoting better blood flow throughout the body, thus enhancing the overall movement

Therefore the therapy can help with other health issues like:

  • Migraines
  • Sinus disorder
  • Menstrual pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Asthma

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Headaches

One of the most sought-after reasons for seeking medical help, whether in primary care offices or emergency rooms, is headaches. At some point in life, over 75% of the population has experienced headaches, which might have lasted between few hours to days.

It is also important to point out that since the brain does not have pain receptors, it is head and neck structures that feel the ache and are referred to as headaches. While in most cases treating it is done with over-the-counter pain medication, it is essential to treat the underlying cause to avoid the ailment becoming a chronic disease. 

There are several reasons that one can suffer from excruciating to dull throbbing in the head. Some of them are: 

  • Muscle tension
  • Trauma
  • Sinus congestion
  • High blood pressure
  • Pre-menstrual syndrome
  • Tumour 
  • Meningitis 

Furthermore, headaches can be categorized into four main groups:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine
  • Cluster headache 
  • Sinus headache

For most sufferers, the aim is to reduce the discomfort, and a DO with OMT therapy can reduce the underlying cause. The aggravating factors, Soft-tissue massage, gentle joint releasing technique, and soft-tissue articulation combined with cranial osteopathic techniques can offer considerable relief from the agony and reduce musculoskeletal tension that the patients with migraine and headaches experience. 

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment For Lower Back Pain

Irrespective of whether you are suffering from lower back pain for a long or short time, you can go to an osteopath to remedy the issue. With OMT, you can also reduce the ache of sciatica that causes spreads from the lower back to your leg, making it difficult for you to walk or move. 

When you visit the DO for osteopathic manipulation to alleviate the pain of the lower back by relieving the muscle tension, some of the techniques used by the osteopath for the therapy are:

Massage: pressure is applied to the lower back’s soft tissue to relieve the soreness by reducing the tension. 

Manipulation: A quick thrusting action with the hand is done on the particular area of the spine. 

Muscle energy technique: you will be asked to push against the DO’s hand while the practitioner applies a back force. 

Functional technique: a gentle movement is done on the joints of the lower back to reduce the pain and tension, then gradually working them back to their original position. 

Counterstain: The DO will move you to the position that causes the least discomfort and then finds out the tender points that cause the pain. 

Myofascial release therapy: A specific massage is done to release the tightness, pain, and tension of the muscles causing the ache. 

The process also includes your DO giving you advice on different exercises and improving the posture to help with the lower back pain. 

Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy Vs. Massage

The main objective is to heal people, and in this world’s rehabilitation therapies, it is quite normal to have overlap between them. At times it becomes difficult to pinpoint the difference between each. The same is the case for OST and Message therapy. For you to have a better understanding of whom you should visit, it is essential to know the similarities and differences between OMT and Message therapy. 


  • Treat a range of conditions caused due to musculoskeletal discomfort
  • Offer a holistic manual treatment


OMT therapists: 

  • aims at joint mobilization, visceral manipulation, pressing the soft tissue and exercise prescription
  • skilled palpitation is conducted to identify restrictions in motions and tissue to improve circulation and movement
  • offer resisting, stretching, and gentle pressure  


  • focus is only o the soft tissues of the body
  • Relieve aching that is caused by over-use of muscles due to everyday work and stress
  • Assist with the healing of the body that is not seriously injured or traumatized. 

So while both assist with relieving soreness, OMT has a broader range in healing the body. 

Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy helps with a range of chronic pain and offers a range of treatment options. Clinical studies have proved that OMT effectively complements other medicine and therapies and works as an effective alternative.