BY DR. STEPHANIE NANI
Whether you struggle with chronic pain or illness, recently suffered an injury or simply want to enjoy a higher level of overall health, osteopathic medicine can help.
Osteopathy is not a set of techniques, it is an approach to health and healing that when applied in medical practice can have a profound impact on a patients’ health. The human body is always working to maintain a state of balance (or homeostasis). The goal of osteopathic medicine is simply to assist in that process. It is a very hands-on approach to health care that incorporates many different therapies, from medicines and surgery to manual therapies and natural remedies. The goal is to bring a body that has been altered through stress, injury or disease into a more balanced state.
It is a “holistic” approach in that we are always looking at the whole body, recognizing that all body systems function in unison and that a disturbance in one system may alter function in another. Osteopathic physicians acknowledge the inherent ability of the body to heal itself when given the right help.
A patient comes in with asthma. She was in a severe car accident many years ago in which her chest hit the steering wheel. She recovered well but within a year of the accident she began having symptoms of asthma that continued to worsen until she needed to use daily medications, including steroids, to breath. Using osteopathic principals we looked at all aspects of her body, not just her lungs. We found that because of the severe impact to her chest there were multiple injuries to the musculoskeletal system that had never been addressed. Her ribs were frozen, unable to move, this prevented her chest cavity from being able to expand and contract as it should which created diminished immune function in the region. When this happens we know that inflammation and irritability of the lungs can occur and will continue to worsen until the patient has symptoms, in this case asthma. When we addressed the underlying issues her asthma began to resolve and over a few months she was able to stop taking all her medications.
Osteopathic medicine is an excellent way to treat people of all ages with a wide range of acute or chronic conditions, and is especially helpful in the treatment of chronic pain.
• A doctor of osteopathic medicine is unique. In addition to the usual curriculum of medicine and surgery osteopathic physicians receive additional training in manual medicine that may be used to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions.
• Osteopathy recognizes that all body systems function in unison and that a disturbance in one system may alter the function in another.
• There are 59,000 osteopaths in the country today. Most function as primary care physicians or provide care within various medical specialties such as surgery, cardiology or neurology.
• Currently one in five physicians graduating from medical school today is an osteopathic physician.
Dr. Nani specializes in Neuromusculoskeletal medicine with a particular emphasis on osteopathic manual medicine. Dr. Nani is covered by many insurances, including Medicare. You can reach her at 503-675-2439 or Doctornani.com.