Osteopathic physicians (or DOs)
who specialize in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine are few and far between in the United States. There are only a handful of residency programs in the country where doctors can learn to specialize in the gentle manual treatment that can address so many ailments. Osteopaths have extensive training in anatomy and are experts in how to help the body move and work better for each individual person. Below are 5 medical issues that can be addressed with osteopathic treatment:
1. Colic – Everyone knows someone who has suffered sleepless nights with a colicky baby. From an osteopathic perspective there are two major areas that can be responsible for the infant’s discomfort—the head and the pelvis.
• The Head – When babies are born, the bones in their head undergo a small amount of overlap, so that their heads can fit through the birth canal. After they are born, crying and sucking are the two main ways that the bones move back to the normal, rounded shape. If that overlap is not reversed naturally, there can be an effect on the baby’s digestion.
• The Pelvis – The nerves that are responsible for helping to move the intestines and help digestion come out from the pelvis. Much like the head, if the pelvis is compressed during childbirth, digestion can be affected.
In my experience in treating newborns and babies, once the compression in the head and/or the pelvis is addressed, the colic symptoms decrease or resolve completely. Treatment is very gentle and does not hurt the babies. Often, if they are days to weeks old, they will sleep through the treatment.
2. Vertigo – Many people who suffer from vertigo, or feeling as though they are constantly or intermittently dizzy, have a history of head trauma. Each of the bones in the head and face move in a specific way. If you hit your head, the normal synchronous movement can be disrupted. Osteopathic treatment can help to restore the proper motion of the bones in the head and face. One of the important ideas behind osteopathic treatment is that structure and function are interrelated. Proper motion of all of the bones in the head and face make for appropriate structure, which promotes proper function. When structure and function are both working in sync, symptoms of vertigo decrease.
3. Asthma – When we breathe, it is important for the upper back, ribs and diaphragm to move. People who suffer from asthma have decreased motion of the back, ribs and the large muscle that helps us breathe. Osteopathic treatment can help get things moving and, to echo the words in the previous paragraph, once the structure is improved, the function improves, thus allowing for easier breathing. Regular osteopathic treatment can help uncontrolled cases of asthma and may reduce the frequency of exacerbations or “asthma attacks.”
4. Nausea, vomiting in pregnancy – The exact cause or causes of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy are unknown, but osteopathic manipulation can help ease at least one of the possible culprits. The vagus nerve is an important nerve that runs from the head and into the chest. It is involved in digestion in the first part of the gastrointestinal system. When it is tweaked, which can happen if there is any strain in the upper neck, digestion can be affected. So just by treating the neck, emptying of the stomach can be improved and nausea can be reduced.
5. Ear infections – The tube that connects the ear to the drainage point in the throat (the eustachian tube) is relatively horizontal in children and has a downward slope in adolescents and adults. This can be a problem for some kids because the level of the tube makes it easier for bacteria and inflammatory fluid to get trapped as gravity cannot aid in drainage. Treatment with osteopathy helps promote drainage and can decrease symptoms of pain in an acute ear infection, and decrease the recurrence of ear infections in kids who have already had them several times.
Dr. Thea Bordenave-Sande’s practice is Saratoga Osteopathy. A board-certified specialist in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine/ Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine, she is a graduate of the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and received her postgraduate training at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx specializing in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine. Dr. Bordenave-Sande has extensive experience treating infants, children and adults. Saratoga Osteopathy is located at 77 Van Dam St. Suite 12, Saratoga Springs; 587.0801; www.saratogaosteopathy.com.
Osteopathic physicians (or DOs)