After a thorough examination and diagnosis, treatment may include osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), medications, various types of injections and/or back surgery. As a treatment, osteopathic manipulation attempts to improve joint range of motion and balance tissue and muscle mechanics in order to relieve pain. The goal of osteopathic treatment is to enhance the patient’s ability to function independently with minimal or no pain, while maintaining this independence through appropriate home exercises, nutrition, and lifestyle.
The number of OMT treatments required varies with each patient and condition. While there are no “hard and fast” rules as to the duration and exact number of treatments required, objective improvement in pain and/or functional abilities should become apparent in as few as five to six consecutive treatments, unless there are prominent complicating factors. (Source: American Osteopathic Association Protocols for OMT, 1998 Division of Socioeconomic Affairs.)
- Initially, treatment may be twice a week for two to four weeks (in rare cases, treatment may be three times a week).
- Follow-up treatments typically are no more frequent than once or twice a week for a certain period of time (not open-ended).
Accordingly, in a chronic pain situation and as long as function is maintained, treatment is generally reduced to a minimum yet reasonable number of visits, but may require a limited set of additional treatments during an episode of exacerbation.