There are new advances in medicine every day. They range from new discoveries in imaging, lab testing, and genetics. These advancements are amazing, but sometimes we forget what is literally at our fingertips. Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) practice Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) which truly is "hands-on" care. It allows the physician to use his or her hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illnesses.
For children, OMM provides many benefits. We are still in cold and flu season. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics. We often speak about conservative care which includes rest and fluids, but we also have to remember the use of OMM. There are techniques that help drain the sinuses and encourage lymphatic flow, which have been shown to decrease the length of common respiratory illnesses. While non-invasive, these maneuvers will decrease inflammation, increase your body's natural healing processes, and take only a few minutes with a great outcome. An added bonus is that some of these techniques can be taught to parents and performed at home.
We all anxiously wait the arrival of spring. However, springtime brings a whole new set of injuries and illnesses. These too respond well to OMM. Asthma affects millions of children each year. Often the coughing and increased breathing associated with asthma can cause rib and chest pain. This can easily be fixed in your child's Osteopathic physician's office with relatively instant relief. The coughing and heavy breathing that occurs with asthma symptoms can cause rib dysfunctions (pain/displacement) as well as diaphragm issues. These can be corrected with OMM which helps relieve symptoms of chest pain, rib pain, and can improve breathing.
Spring also has an increase in sports related injuries. Twisted ankles, sprained knees, elbows, and wrists all benefit from OMM. With OMM, your physician can manipulate the muscles back to their normal position and provide in office relief. Best of all, by using the hands to diagnose and treat, radiological studies are not always needed which is great for children.
OMM is not a cure-all, but there is almost always an opportunity to reap its benefits. An Osteopathic physician will still order labs, images, and medications when needed. However, it is an excellent addition to a physician's treatment arsenal. So next time you are seeing your D.O. don't forget about OMM. If you are interested in finding more information about OMM, please refer to the American Osteopathic Association or in our area at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine OMM Department.