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How Is Osteopathic Manipulation Different from a Massage?

How Is Osteopathic Manipulation Different from a Massage?

Millions of Americans deal with pain and illness every day. Regardless of the origin of their medical issues, they all share the same desire — to get relief so they can live a full and productive life.

If you can relate, and you’re looking for a holistic medical approach, osteopathic manipulation could be just what you’re looking for. Osteopathic manipulation can relieve pain, enhance range of motion, and improve overall health.

In this blog, the providers at Generations Family Practice in Cary, North Carolina, explain what osteopathic manipulation is and how it differs from therapies like massage.

What are doctors of osteopathic medicine?

Let’s start by explaining what a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) is. As you probably know, physicians usually have MD (doctor of medicine) or DO after their name. Both DOs and MDs graduate medical school and pass a medical licensing exam to practice medicine.

Similarly, both DOs and MDs go through comparable classroom and clinical training and can practice medicine and surgery as well as prescribe medications in all 50 states.

What sets apart DOs from their counterparts is their philosophy of practicing medicine as well as their use of a unique diagnostic and treatment technique called osteopathic manipulative therapy, also called osteopathic manipulation.

Osteopathic manipulation explained

Osteopathic manipulative therapy is a type of strategic hands-on technique. Specifically, your osteopathic specialist uses their hands or sometimes specialized devices to apply gentle manual force or pressure to targeted muscles, other soft tissues, or joints.

Osteopathic manipulation and osteopathic medicine as a whole starts from the belief that the human body is a complex compilation of interconnected systems that include muscles, nerves, bones, and joints. Furthermore, pain, illness, and disease occur when these interwoven systems get out of balance.

Doctors of osteopathic medicine use a holistic approach to address illness and pain. This means they look into a patient’s diet, stress levels, lifestyle, mental and physical health, environment, and other factors to pinpoint the root causes. Furthermore, they apply osteopathic manipulation to help the body heal itself.

During osteopathic manipulation, you may sit or lie down depending on your treatment. Then, your provider gently applies pressure to your muscles and other tissues to move certain parts of your body into alignment. Your provider may use quick or slow manipulations, but none of the techniques should hurt.

Osteopathic manipulation vs. massage

The differences between massage and osteopathic manipulation are important. Massage is generally geared toward kneading soft tissues and muscles to induce relaxation. While massage can address pain and discomfort, it’s usually used to focus on muscles or tissues that are tight or contracted due to overuse or occupational issues.

Osteopathic manipulation is much more encompassing. While osteopathic manipulation can be used to treat musculoskeletal issues, such as back, neck, and joint pain, it can treat a much wider spectrum of medical conditions and illnesses, such as:

To learn more about osteopathic manipulation and to find out how it may be able to help you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Generations Family Practice today.

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