OMT: A Holistic Approach to Patient Care

Written by Jennifer Vineyard, DO on

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, also known as OMT, is a hands-on practice of diagnosis and treatment.

image

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, also known as OMT, is a hands-on practice of diagnosis and treatment.

OMT is practiced by a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.). DOs are physicians with the same Western/allopathic medical training as a doctor of medicine (MD), but with additional training in hands-on diagnosis and treatment of physical conditions such as musculoskeletal pain (low back pain, neck pain), visceral (organ) dysfunction (pulmonary conditions such as cough or shortness of breath, gastrointestinal conditions such as constipation, pelvic pain, and conditions such as headaches, muscle tension/spasm, sinus issues, and illness.

As with other medical treatments, OMT first involves a physical examination based on your symptoms. A treatment plan is made to address the findings.  If the condition has been present for a long time, it commonly takes several treatments to achieve relief or improvement.  If it is a relatively acute (new) condition, sometimes it can be treated in one or two visits.

Some people are unaware that DO and MD degrees are equivalent degrees, recognized in every state and several countries. DOs practice in all areas of medicine, and residencies and fellowships, or training, for MDs and DOs, are combined into the same programs across all 50 states.

As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, I take a holistic approach to my patient's medical care. I believe strongly in the innate healing potential of our bodies.

In my practice, I prefer soft tissue techniques and muscle energy to correct dysfunctions and asymmetry. This work is very gentle and very well tolerated. I work on retraining your muscles, fascia, nerves, and more, on functioning normally, and stopping the abnormal habits that your body has acquired over time to compensate (as we all do) for the various minor injuries and insults that happen in life.

Be forewarned -- I also give homework. I ask you to practice various exercises at home to continue/further your progress, such as postural or pelvic mobility exercises.

If you seek care with OMT, for the best results, it is essential to wear light, loose-fitting clothes to your appointment so that the physician can palpate (feel) the muscles, fascia, and other tissues, So when you come to an appointment with me, please wear gym-style clothes, such as yoga or sweatpants and a T-shirt. Jeans, compression wear, and belts are not recommended. I also ask that you bring socks, as you will usually need to remove your shoes during this treatment. I recommend bringing a small, soft cloth or pillowcase over the "face hole" on the treatment table for comfort.

Long before I embarked on my journey through medicine, I was deeply interested in nutrition, exercise, and natural therapies to impact health. Along the journey, I continued to learn about the biology and chemistry of micronutrients and the immune system, longevity and sleep research, and mindfulness.

I loved becoming a DO because there was already the explicit messaging about the body's self-healing mechanisms and non-pharmacologic methods to treat illness and injury. OMT gives me another method to treat my patients' pain and dysfunction, restore balance, and help the healing process - another tool in my toolbox using allopathic and osteopathic medicine.

I look forward to restoring and promoting the health and healing of the residents of the Lompoc Valley.

Jennifer Vineyard, DO
Written By Jennifer Vineyard, DO, Board-Certified Internist
Dr. Vineyard practices internal medicine, lifestyle medicine, osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), and palliative care. She has worked in hospitals, clinics, and home settings. Dr. Vineyard focuses on integrated care, including mind-body medicine and using nutrition and non-pharmacologic treatments.