If you’re among the more than 50 million folks in the US living with chronic pain, you’ve probably long-since grown skeptical of the myriad of remedies available. But osteopathic manipulation (OMM) is no over-hyped spider venom or sugar-injection treatment, though. Multiple studies assert its effectiveness and physicians express particular optimism about its potential to reduce opiate abuse.

How does it work?

If you speak physician-ese, OMM is exactly what it sounds like: physical manipulation of the skeletal system and muscle tissue. In more straight-forward terms, the practice involves stretching, gentle pressure, and resistance with the goal of managing pain and promoting recovery. OMM draws on evidence demonstrating that, with restored or corrected movement patterns, a patient’s body is able to heal on its own, thereby reducing pain. 

Who might benefit from OMM?

Broadly, those who suffer the severest chronic pain stand to gain the most. According to one study, patients with baseline disability scores of 17 or greater, on a scale of 24, experienced substantial benefit while those with scores of 7 or greater experienced medium benefit from OMM.

Sufferers of debilitating low back pain are among those for whom OMM appears to work best. An investigation aimed at addressing acute low back pain in active duty military personnel “found significantly greater post-trial improvement in ‘Pain Now’ for OMM compared to UCO [usual care only],” underscoring the treatment’s potential to provide relief to those who have failed to find it elsewhere.

OMM and Opiate Abuse

The Mayo Clinic cites changes in opioid-prescribing practices as an important contributor to the opioid crisis. As communities seek to contain the damage of this tragedy, physicians must do their part by developing new treatment plans for chronic pain. Critically, these new approaches need to both work and be widely available. OMM checks both boxes, with osteopathic physicians located across the country.

If you are interested in learning more about this or any of the other proven traditional therapies and innovative, holistic modalities offered by our network of full-service mental health clinics, don’t hesitate to reach out

About the Author

Kimberly Sandberg Aloha Integrative Health
Kim Sandberg is the owner and founder of Aloha Integrative Health and a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. She has two advanced degrees: a Masters of Science in Nursing as a Nurse Anesthetist and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. She has worked in a variety of settings, though the biggest impact on Kim and her work came from her 28 years of service in the Navy Reserve.

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