Osteopathic Manual Medicine
(OMM or OMT – T= techniques)
The human body is a fascinating complex machine made from layers of tissue and interconnecting systems that control and manage all our functions.
Bones are like the infrastructure or scaffolding – they provide rigid support and are the reason why we aren’t big bags of blob and jelly. When multiple bones connect they form joints and those are anchored and stabilized by ligaments and connective tissue.
Muscles attach to bones via tendons. This means that each end of a muscle is a tendon that is connected to a bone. There are small and large and short and long and superficial and deep muscles all over the body.
Fascia is a sheet of connective like tissue (think about a sheet in your bed). There are different layers of fascia and it covers individual muscles, layers of muscles and even groups of muscles. Some fascia is deep and some is superficial (meaning closer to the skin). Some fascia even connects like one big sheet from near the top of our bodies all the way to our feet.
Running throughout our muscles and fascia are blood vessels, nerves and lymphatics (drainage system).
In normal functional situations, bones cannot move unless a symphony of events between nerves and muscles and fascia and connective tissue and ligaments and tendons all occur.
In not so normal situations, bones can move or shift from very forceful events like trauma or accidents, stepping off a curb the wrong way or with subtle manipulation (as when we reset a displaced or dislocated bone).
For movement to occur the right way a joint needs to be normally supported, properly lubricated and cushioned and some muscles need to activate (contract) completely while other ones turn off (relax).
Alter any of these individual variables and movement or even no movement can become painful, restricted, limited, weak or abnormal.
Sometimes when this occurs or has happened, other parts of the body try to pick up the slack. This is called compensation and it can sometimes work or help for a little while but usually it makes a problem even bigger if the whole thing is left uncorrected.
Because the body has so many layers and some many involved parts, there are lots of things that can get stuck or bound up (picture how sometimes your leg gets wrapped up in a sheet in your bed and the more you move to get unstuck, the more twisted it gets and the less you can move).
Sometimes one or more muscles (or just individual fibers in muscles) can get stuck in the ON position – sort of like being constantly overstretched. In that case, when we want them to contract or relax, they won’t properly and things will hurt and not move correctly. Similarly, muscles can be over relaxed (this is usually a push-pull type of situation that results from certain muscle groups being overly activated.)
History of Osteopathic Medicine
Osteopathic medicine was developed in the mid 1800’s, around the time of the Civil War by a medical doctor (MD) named Andrew Still.
After losing two of his children to severe bacterial infections, (back then very little was understood about microbiology and disease) Dr. Still felt that all his knowledge about medicine and the human body was lacking something.
He felt helpless.
He set out on his own to learn and to understand more about how all the individual components of the body were interrelated. With that increased knowledge, he developed techniques for both diagnosing and treating a variety of medical conditions using his hands and manipulating various muscles, bones, fascia, and connective tissue.
He then founded the first Osteopathic School of Medicine (which is still in existence today – Kirksville School of Osteopathic Medicine).
Since its origins, Osteopathic Medicine has grown in the United States – chiropractic and physical therapy are modalities that evolved out of Osteopathy and approximately 20% of the medical schools in this country are Osteopathic (graduates receive a DO degree while graduates of Allopathic Medical schools receive an MD).
Both types of medical schools teach the same anatomy, pharmacology, microbiology, etc but students in a DO program have additional courses in OMM, which MD students do not learn, and occasionally more education in holistic and alternative medicine (although many MD programs are realizing the importance of incorporating these into their education).
Unfortunately, many DOs do not utilize much of the OMM or OMT after medical school and residency but that is because the current medical system does not offer the time that is usually necessary to spend with a patient incorporating extensive hands-on techniques for treatment.
When will OMT help me?
OMM/OMT is useful before a problem occurs (PREVENTION), immediately after a problem happens (ACUTE TREATMENT), when a problem has been present for a long time (CHRONIC TREATMENT) and to keep a problem from reoccurring (PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE).
For ATHLETES it can be an essential tool for optimizing performance, strength and endurance while minimizing risk of injury. When an injury or pain condition is present, it can be a tool on its own or in combination with regenerative injections, chiropractic, physical therapy and/or corrective exercise guidance to quickly fix and prevent or avoid surgery.
For NON-ATHLETES (aka all of you every day HARDWORKERS) it can be a means to keep you doing the things you need to or love to without relying on pain medications or surgery.
At ASCENT ATHLETE WELLNESS, Dr. Rook uses a very unique amalgam of Osteopathic techniques to correct imbalance, dysfunction and restriction with the goal of rapid return to more pain-free symmetry and fluid movement.
In much the same way that he views each patient as unique in his or her problem, so is his approach to treatment. His technique incorporates myofascial release, muscle energy techniques, active release and strain-counterstrain methods once he has identified the regions and structures involved in the underlying problem.
When you come to ASCENT ATHLETE WELLNESS for an OMM/OMT consult or treatment session please make sure you wear or bring with you a change of clothing that is loose fitting (gym or running shorts or sweat pants and t-shirts are ideal).
Call to schedule your consult & treatment today: 970-248-9833