‘OMT’ Can Possibly Offer Relief for Headaches and Pain

ThedaCare Physician Describes Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

November 17, 2020

WAUTOMA, Wis. – People who have experienced headaches, back pain or other musculoskeletal problems know how disruptive it can be, and sometimes there aren’t quick fixes.

Long Nguyen, DO, a family medicine physician with ThedaCare Physicians-Wautoma explained Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) might be a helpful option for some. OMT is essentially a hands-on treatment of soft tissue, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones, almost like a hybrid between chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy. Dr. Nguyen said OMT is used to both diagnose and treat a patient, and doctors receive extra training during medical school and some residencies to develop their OMT skill set.

“The difference between OMT and those other avenues of treatment is we focus specifically on an isolated area where the patient is experiencing an issue,” Dr. Nguyen said. “Stressors can impact the body in a way that pulls things out of line, so we work with the layers of the body including skin, myofascial, muscle and bone. We find those misalignments, and we try to realign them using your own body.”

During OMT therapy, the body is realigned to neutral by gently manipulating muscles and joints using pressure and/or resistance. In general, the sessions take 15 to 20 minutes each and patients usually return for several treatments, which promote healing and recovery.

“Patients who can benefit include those with acute or chronic musculoskeletal issues, including back pain, migraines, neck pain, pregnant women who are suffering from pelvic pain or even patients with issues such as constipation,” he said. “Those with long-term conditions such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis or other chronic conditions can benefit as well.”

Multiple sessions are usually necessary to retrain the muscles, similar to physical therapy. OMT is probably not for patients who are uncomfortable being touched, but for those who proceed, the results can be dramatic.  

“Many patients try OMT because they’ve already tried other options without much success,” said Dr. Nguyen. “Most medications have a limit and are a way to help manage pain. OMT is a tool in our toolbox to help supplement. Though it is not a cure all, I have definitely seen a lot of strong outcomes.”