There are many Osteopathic techniques available to treat various health problems. These techniques are applied by therapists to adjust and correct mechanical problems throughout your entire body. During most treatments, you will be asked to be passive. There are also, however, Osteopathic techniques that will require your active participation in the movements.
On your first and subsequent visits to the Osteopath, the practitioner will determine how far the body or body part differs from normal and make adjustments as required. Some of the basic and popular Osteopathic techniques are discussed in detail below.
Craniosacral – is a gentle but extremely effective approach to release your physical trauma, emotional stresses and tensions. The therapist will remove the restrictive patterns in your body and have it return to a normal mode of functioning.
Musculo-skeletal – are applied to injury and dysfunction in your joints, muscles and the face. The high velocity technique is applied to your joints. The functional and soft tissue techniques are applied to your surrounding soft tissues. In the case of sprain, the therapist will combine these techniques to restore the normal contact within your joint and other structures in your body. The muscular spasms and tensions in your ligaments will be removed and the complete mobility of your joint will be restored.
Visceral – are applied to problems in the internal organs such as the digestive tract, respiratory system, etc. Mobilization techniques are applied and will require your active participation to restore mobility to the organs through respiratory motion. To treat nerve-related dysfunctions of the internal organs, the therapist will work on your neurological network and correct your “vertebral keyboard” to intervene on certain organs indirectly such as the digestive system.
Muscle Energy Techniques (MET) – is particularly useful during acute stages of pain and inflammation, and when other manipulative techniques are contraindicated. The technique is used to correct dysfunction in your sacroiliac joint and pelvis and improve your range of motion. The physician will direct you to use your muscles from a precise position that will counter the force applied by the physician. The purpose of MET is to restore motion, decrease muscle/tissue changes and modify asymmetry of somatic dysfunction.
Treatment is done in the following manner: The physician sits facing you. He will ask you to lie on your back with knees raised. He will put his left arm over your flexed extremity and grip the table for support. You have to resist the pushes while the physician rotates the sacroiliac joint using muscle energy techniques.
High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA) – is a manipulative technique that applies rapid thrust to your joint to improve range of motion and reduce pain. HVLA technique is useful in acute conditions when excessive soft tissue movement and mobilization can exaggerate inflammation. HVLA has both diagnostic and therapeutic components. Many variations of this technique exist.
Myofascial Release Techniques (MRT) – are designed to treat primarily the myofascial tissues or connective tissues. Your myofascial tissues will be loaded with a constant force until release occurs. Your dysfunctional tissues are guided along a path of least resistance until free movement is achieved. The procedure often takes 3-5 minutes. Treating your myofascial tissues is important because it acts as a protective mechanism enveloping all structures and it serves as the medium in which our immune system flows.
Functional – utilizes physiological properties existing within neural tissue. It aims at gently mobilizing restrictions and creating self-awareness within the structure, allowing it to be repositioned or to relax.
Cranial Rhythmic Impulse (CRI) – is a gentle, manual technique that utilizes your cranial rhythmic impulse to treat the whole body with emphasis on the head and spinal regions. The CRI technique utilizes your bodys inherent third wave pulse emanating from the central nervous system and the fluctuation of the cerebrospinal fluid.
Lymphatic – a manual procedure designed to promote circulation of your lymphatic fluids and to relieve your upper and lower respiratory infections. The physician will apply hand pressure to your upper anterior chest wall. As soon as the force applied to the chest reaches its maximum, the physician will remove his hands. This increases negative pressure on your chest to move lymphatic fluids in your respiratory system.
Thrust – applies a high velocity/low-amplitude thrust to restore your specific joint motion. Your joints are expected to regain their normal range of motion and reset neural reflexes. The procedure reduces and/or completely nullifies the physical signs of somatic dysfunction; tissue changes, asymmetry, restriction of motion and tenderness.
Counterstrain – is a manual procedure in which you will be moved passively away from the restricted motion barrier and towards the position of greatest comfort. This will induce passive asymptomatic strain. This technique is used for relief of somatic dysfunctions that are too acute or too delicate to treat with other procedures.
Posterior Cervical Treatment – is used in the treatment of posterior cervical trauma. The physician will palpate for your tissue texture abnormality over the posterior component by placing the fingertip of the left index finger. The right hand of the physician will cradle your head and flex your spine down. The doctor will introduce a mild compression force with the right hand. While maintaining this position, the doctor will pull, rotating and side bending your head and neck to the right. The doctor will release after 3-5 seconds. You will be asked to return to a neutral position.
Fryette Osteopathic – takes into account the physiological movements of individual vertebrae according to the morphology of the patients curves. It is used to cure joint locking or articular hypomobility of the spine and the pelvis. The technique is specifically aimed at lesions of your lumbar spine, of the sacrum, and of the iliac bones.
Cervical soft tissue – is applied to decrease cervical tissue tension and increase articular motion. The doctor will apply an anterior and superior pressure using both hands until you can sense the stretch of the cervical paraspinal muscles. Then the doctor will release pressure. The procedure will be repeated several times working up and down the cervical spine, until you show a decrease in tissue tension and an increase in available motion between the vertebral segments.
Image by Wellcome Images, Creative Commons License.
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