Treating Athletic Injuries With Osteopathy

Osteopathy is the art of practicing a whole body form of medicine. Sometimes seen as a mix of massage, chiropractic care, and medical assistance, a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) differs from a doctor of medicine (M.D.) by her or his ability to look beyond the symptom and the pain. It has been said that the average M.D. relies on the prescription pad to make symptoms go away, while the average D.O. focuses on a hands-on patient relationship that encompasses lifestyle and family as well as lab results and interviews.

Athletes realize that the holistic approach the D.O. offers has the potential of keeping them competitive longer, since many of the treatment approaches actually prevent further injuries from occurring. Additionally, the absence of prescription drugs and other substances also make for the ability to compete on an amateur or professional level, since leagues are becoming increasingly concerned with doping and thus tighten the rules for permitted substances further and further.

Tools in the arsenal of the average osteopathic practitioner are soft tissue massages, musculoskeletal manipulation, and careful adjustments to the spine and of course the use of water exercise regiments. It is interesting to note that some sports coaches are also trained in the use of osteopathic modalities and as such D.O.s will sometimes refer an athlete to such a coach to further the patient’s athletic career while at the same time supporting her or his health. If you are a patient of a D.O., do not hesitate to ask for such a referral.

Athletes determined to treating athletic injuries with osteopathy will do well to seek out special sports medicine medical groups and inquire about on staff osteopaths. In some cases such medical groups will offer the services of a D.O., M.D., and also a P.T. (physical therapist) who will work further with the athlete to implement the recommendations of the osteopath. It is important to remember that sometimes the patient is the first responder when it comes to dealing with a sports injury. To this end, here are some suggestions for the athlete who gets injured and needs to stabilize the injury prior to visiting the osteopathic practitioners’ office.

* Swelling may be controlled effectively with the use of a cold pack. Although a painkiller may make the pain go away, it is not advisable to take one unless the D.O. suggests the use. Patients will do well to remember that dulling the pain artificially makes the description thereof to the D.O. highly unlikely.

* The limb that became injured needs to be rested. This might involve placing the arm in a sling to keep it artificially immobile or placing up the foot on a pillow and avoiding any unnecessary movements.

* Tight bandages may help to prevent swelling, but they also may constrict the proper circulation of blood which of course is crucial to proper healing efforts. Patients en route to an osteopath will do well to discuss the best way of relieving pain with the professional’s assistant.

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