Can Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment help relieve pain? 7 questions with April Rosalez, D.O.

By Kristy Bleizeffer Apr 29, 2016

April Rosalez, D.O., is accepting new patients at Mesa Primary Care.

Sometimes, lost in all the medical advances and new technology, is the healing power of human touch. 

April Rosalez, D.O., a board-certified family practice physician at Mesa Primary Care, uses Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) in her focus on treating the “whole” patient. 

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“The D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) emphasis is on treating the whole patient, not just focusing on the symptoms,” said Dr. Rosalez. “As part of our skillset, we can use our hands to heal as well, such as with soft tissue massage and bone manipulation for lower back pain. I always tell people to think of me as your doctor, but I’m also your chiropractor, your massage therapist and your kinesiologist.”

Here, Dr. Rosalez answers seven questions about Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.

1. What is Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment?

This is a form of manual medicine that focuses on total body health by adjusting and strengthening musculoskeletal framework; including the joints, muscles, fascia and spine.  By optimizing this framework, studies show we positively affect the body’s nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems.  Using our hands, we can treat and prevent injuries to this framework.

2. What ailments does OMT treat?

Most commonly I treat aches and pains caused by misalignment and muscle imbalance. This can take the form of back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, or knee pain to name a few.

OMT can also help patients with migraines, sinus congestion, asthma, constipation, carpal tunnel syndrome and menstrual cramps.

3. Who can benefit from OMT?

Anyone who has any of the above ailments should talk to their physician and see if this is an additional modality that would benefit them. I am always willing to talk to their doctor or see the patient to help them figure out if this will help.

4. How can soft tissue massage and bone manipulation help patients with back pain?

For new, acute back pains, such as from slipping on the ice or from being a weekend warrior, many times this gets rid of the pain, and after one or two sessions, you don’t need me anymore.  If an injury is not healing fast enough with manipulation and home exercises, I will work in conjunction with our local occupational, physical and massage therapists to hasten healing time.

Chronic back pain is more complex because there is usually structural abnormalities involved and long-term muscle strain patterns.  By strengthening and keeping these areas mobile, often we can decrease pain and put off surgeries until they are absolutely needed.  Strengthening before surgery also helps with success and recovery after surgery.

5. What are some other components of osteopathic medicine you use to treat patients?

Most commonly I treat tension headaches that can turn into migraines if not addressed in a timely manner.  This time of year, I do sinus lavage (or sinus irrigation) to increase drainage and lymphatic flow to help your body fight the infection, in conjunction with other conservative therapies or antibiotics.  I try to use preventative medicine as much as possible such as weight management, mental health and exercise to improve overall health while decreasing stress on your body.

6. What are the differences and similarities between a doctor of osteopathic medicine and a medical doctor?

We are very similar. In fact, I went to the same residency as my M.D. colleagues and passed the M.D. family medicine boards.  Thanks to my training here at Casper’s Wyoming Family Practice residency, I am dual board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians.  I like to think of osteopathy as another tool in my tool belt to help my patient get better faster and improve their quality of life.

7. What else should people know about osteopathic medicine?

Another common question I get is, “What is the difference between me and a chiropractor?” Osteopathic physicians who are trained in the U.S. are medical doctors. We go through four years of medical school. But at osteopathic medical schools, in addition to our traditional medical training, we are trained in 200 credit hours of osteopathic manipulation and theory. Chiropractors, are not medical doctors, but have similar modalities of manipulation.  Many (not all) tend to favor articulatory techniques which the public refers to as “cracking or popping” things back in place.

April Rosales, DO

April Rosalez D.O.

Dr. Rosalez is dually board certified in family medicine. She recently finished her residency at the University of Wyoming Family Medicine program in Casper and earned her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at Des Moines University. She is accepting patients of all ages at Mesa Primary Care. 

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