Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT)

This information explains osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).

What is OMT?

OMT involves moving your muscles and joints with stretching, gentle pressure, and resistance. It can help to:

  • Ease pain
  • Improve joint range of motion and mobility
  • Improve muscle mechanics
  • Balance the body
  • Prevent further injury to the musculoskeletal system
  • Promote healing

OMT may be used with other forms of medical care, such as medications or surgery, to help you recover from illness and injury and reduce pain. OMT can be used to treat conditions such as:

  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Neuromuscular pain syndromes (neuropathy, myopathy, etc.)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Migraines and tension headaches
  • Asthma
  • Sinus disorders
  • Middle ear infections
Doctors who perform OMT are doctors of osteopathic medicine. They are licensed physicians who have received the education and training needed to perform this therapy.
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Before OMT

Before scheduling an OMT session, your doctor will evaluate you to see if the treatment will be helpful. He or  she will speak with you about your medical history and lifestyle, including your job. Tell your doctor if you:
  • Have or had any recent illnesses or surgery
  • Have or had a fracture, surgery, or cancer in your spine, ribs, or the bones in your arms or shoulders
  • Have osteoporosis
  • Think you may be pregnant
During your examination, your doctor will check your spine, posture, and balance and feel your joints, muscles,  tendons, and ligaments. After reviewing the results, he or she will discuss the cause of your symptoms and  whether you may benefit from OMT. 
You will get a phone call the day before your appointment to confirm your appointment. You do not need to do anything to prepare for your OMT appointment. You may eat, drink, and take your usual medications.
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During OMT

When you arrive for your appointment, you will change into a gown. You can leave your undergarments on.  During your treatment, you will lie in a comfortable procedure bed. Your doctor will apply gentle stretching,  pressure, and resistance to the areas that are causing you problems. The OMT session usually lasts 30 to 60 minutes. 
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After OMT

In general, OMT is a safe treatment. Although rare, some patients have reported having:
  • A mild headache
  • Mild discomfort at the site of the manipulation
  • Brief episodes of feeling flushed, dizzy, or nauseous immediately after the treatment
These symptoms usually go away within a short period of time.
If you have any question or concerns, please call your doctor’s office.
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If you have any questions or concerns, talk with a member of your healthcare team. You can reach them Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at ____________________. After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, please call____________________. If there’s no number listed, or you’re not sure, call 212-639-2000.
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT)
©2015 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Generated on July 4, 2015