Sunday, November 23, 2008

Manipulative Treatment

Biped creatures such as ourselves put a lot of force on our feet plaguing us with unnecessary pain and discomfort. Fortunately, there are ways to provide a needed respite for sore, worn out feet. When massage leaves you aching, osteopathic manipulative treatments (OMT) may be an easy solution.

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

As osteopathic medical students, we routinely learn the manipulations of our practice. Various techniques allow us to fill our toolbox with multiple solutions to common structural problems. Most recently we have been working with the lower extremities including the feet.

After getting over the initial distaste of handling the feet of our colleagues, we set out to learn the principles that would heal our future patients. These treatments focus primarily on the muscles, bones, and connective tissues in an effort to relieve pain or discomfort.

As my best friend is commonly involved in activities that put great amounts of stress on her feet, it came as no surprise that she had started developing pain one morning. Before running off to class, I was able to employ some of the skills I had learned previously to 'reset' her foot and relieve the pain she was experiencing. Amazed, she let me know the pain was gone, which I initially thought was her way of making me feel better about myself. She assured me that this was not her intention and that the techniques had actually improved her level of comfort.

Little by little we are gaining the pieces of knowledge that will make us better professionals and physicians in the work place. I was fortunate enough to be able to use those skills at home and witness first hand, the positive effects of OMT.


Sticking to the lower extremity, I thought I would discuss the latest news in the anatomy department. With the thorax and gastrointestinal contents of the abdomen behind us, we have started our examination of the spinal cord and perineum. In order to get a better look at the structures involved, some intense dissections had to be performed.

The first was a laminectomy where the outer coverings of the vertebrae were cut away to reveal the underlying spinal cord. It is amazing to think that this well protected and delicate structure carries impulses that permit control of most of our body.

The second dissection required the removal of a leg as high up as the belly button, which included part of the lower spine . This exposed the contents of the groin for inspection while being able to observe the organic proximity of reproductive, urinary and gastrointestinal structures. I never imagined having to remove an entire limb for that purpose, but it gives us a better appreciation for the anatomy we are studying.

In only a month's time, we will have completed our first semester of medical school. It is exciting to think that we have made it this far and are slowly seeing goals become a reality.


  1. Josh, you are amazing! It's incredible that the treatment was so simple yet relieved so much pain. Usually I have to wait at least a week after rolling my foot to get that relief, but the next morning you put it all into place with your skills. I keep telling my yoga students about the DO approach to pain relief. I am so happy to know that your first response was not to prescribe a pain killer, but to reverse the discomfort directly...amazing!

  2. Josh,
    I found your blog linked to the email Tim Davie sent out about Miller 20... fun times.
    Sounds like you are learning a lot of good stuff. Do you have any PDFs with info on the treatments you are learning that I could read. I am at USUHS and we just finished with our final dissection. It has been a phenomenal experience opening the body and seeing how well organized the nervous, muscular, can vascular systems are.
    We also take some extra classes on military medicine including extra field exercises. I am excited for our next course: combat medicine. Due to the fact that it is a traditional MD school and not a DO school, I don't get to learn the neat things you do... but I do get to learn about combat medicine!
    Anyway - if you come across some really good treatments I would love to hear about them.
    Happy holidays.


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