Treating the Whole Body…. Not JUST Treating Symptoms

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas A. Edison

Let’s start with an excerpt from the services page on my website:

  • OMM is a treatment commonly used for patients who have strained their back either playing sports or at work, or have been involved in a “whiplash” injury from an accident. Also, many people who have sedentary jobs, or sit for a long time at a desk develop “knots” in the shoulder blade region. By performing OMM, a procedure designed to mobilize the restricted motion of the joint, a DO helps relieve symptoms which then aid in tapping into your body’s self-healing capabilities.

Manual medicine is one component of total health care and is most effective in the long term when combined with diet, exercise, and lifestyle modification. As well, OMM can work alongside conventional approaches to help patients with a wide variety of conditions. Consider a concept forwarded by Edward Stiles, DO (http://omtsos.com/index.php?page=philosophy) that further describes the goal of manual medicine practitioners with the following equation:


Using the equation above, consider a patient with asthma: the patient is the Host component and asthma represents the Disease component of this equation. To treat the host, manual medicine is directed at the patient’s mechanical restriction which commonly occurs in the thoracic spine and rib cage region (http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/spine-anatomy/thoracic-spine-anatomy-and-upper-back-pain).  The primary goal is to restore motion to the ribcage, diaphragm, and thorax, and in doing so, restore normal ventilation of the lungs.

Furthermore, to treat the disease (asthma has two components: inflammation or mucus build-up in the airways and broncho-constriction or narrowing of the airways), inhaled steroids to decrease inflammation in the lungs and other medicines called broncho-dilators to expand the lungs are used to treat the patient successfully. From a 2010 article in OMPC, Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care(http://www.om-pc.com/content/4/1/2 Noll et al.), hospital patients with pneumonia were treated in a similar fashion described above (using OMM and conventional therapy –  ie; antibiotics – versus justconventional therapy). Patients treated with the combined approach of OMM and conventional treatment were discharged from the hospital sooner than those just treated with the conventional treatment of medications without OMM.

So, what are the implications of this model for healthcare? Approaching the patient with this integrative method takes us away from just treating symptoms, and when taking into consideration that the HOST is connected to the ILLNESS equation (and not just the DISEASE – ie; symptoms), this optimizes the patient’s own healing capabilities.


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