What is Osteopathic Medicine? OMT: Hands-On Care

OMT: Hands-On Care

Healing touch

What is Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment?

Learn how osteopathic physicians use OMT to help patients find relief from muscle pain, migraines and carpal tunnel.

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, or OMT, is a set of hands-on techniques used by osteopathic physicians (DOs) to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury. Using OMT, a DO moves a patient’s muscles and joints using techniques that include stretching, gentle pressure and resistance.

As part of their education, DOs receive special training in the musculoskeletal system, the body’s intricate system of muscles, nerves and bones. This advanced training provides DOs with a keen understanding of how the body’s systems are interconnected and how each one affects the others.

When appropriate, OMT can complement, and even replace, drugs or surgery. In this way, DOs bring an important dimension to standard medical care.

Benefits of OMT

OMT can help people of all ages and backgrounds. The treatment can be used to ease pain, promote healing and increase overall mobility. Although often used to treat muscle pain, the treatment can also help patients with a number of other health problems such as:

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

Through OMT, physicians manually apply a specific amount of pressure to different regions in the body. These techniques can help:

  • Treat structural and tissue abnormalities
  • Relieve joint restriction and misalignment
  • Restore muscle and tissue balance
  • Promote the overall movement of blood flow throughout the body

OMT for pain relief

Just as there are multiple types of chronic pain, there are a wide variety of treatment options, from medication to hands-on techniques like OMT, which has been clinically proven to provide pain relief for low back pain.

“One of the unique differentiators of osteopathic is OMT, which is proven to be effective in treating low back pain,” says Jennifer Caudle, DO, an assistant professor of family medicine at the Rowan University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey. “Clinical studies have shown OMT to be an effective alternative or complement to medication and other therapies.”


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Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, practice their distinct philosophy in every medical specialty, in all 50 states. Use our Find Your DO search tool to connect with an osteopathic physician in your community.

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