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What is Osteopathic Manipulation?

Some general facts:
Sixty percent of primary care patients have musculoskeletal problems, or manifestations thereof, and will benefit from osteopathic manipulation treatment (OMT). OMT is sometimes referred to as OMM (osteopathic manipulative medicine). These two terms mean the same and are interchangeable.


McManis Treatment Table


Osteopathic physicians (DOs) are fully licensed in all states to provide comprehensive medical treatment including osteopathic manipulation, surgery, and the prescribing of drugs. In Washington State, DOs are the only healthcare professionals unrestricted in their choice of treatment modality.

Osteopathic manipulation is not equivalent to chiropractic care or physical therapy (PT). The techniques and training requirements are different. Massage therapy and PT are often used as adjunctive therapy to soften, tone or condition soft tissues prior to, or following, osteopathic manipulative treatment.

DOs are the only healthcare providers in Washington State trained and licensed to perform manipulation treatment to all parts of the body, in addition to other modalities. Chiropractors are restricted by law to treatment of the spine. MDs are generally prohibited from doing manipulation because their training does not include this musculoskeletal emphasis. Likewise, massage therapists and physical therapists are not authorized by law to perform osteopathic manipulation, because they are not trained in this specialty.

Studies show that DOs are the most cost-effective providers of workers’ compensation injury treatment (two Labor & Industries studies support this statement: FCER, 1988, Virginia; Tillinghast, 1993, Denver, CO).


Exam Room II with McManis Table


OMT should always be tried first at the primary care level for musculoskeletal problems and/or radicular pain, prior to surgery. Mechanical correction of most musculoskeletal injuries can often avoid surgery and is much less risky.

Dr. Alsager will often refer patients to neurologists, or orthopedic surgeons where surgery is clearly indicated, or when patients do not respond to OMT and conventional medical therapy in a timely manner. Often patients can avoid surgery by early OMT intervention, supported by a thorough diagnostic work up by Dr. Alsager.

OMT may be prescribed by Dr. Alsager or a referring doctor, either alone or in combination with conventional medical treatment, surgery, drugs, physical therapy, massage, mental and spiritual counseling, nutritional analysis, natural herbal and vitamin therapies.

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