Osteopathic Medicine

What is a DO?

A DO, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, is a doctor who practices medicine and is additionally trained in manual medicine. DO’s have a general medical license and are trained with four years of undergraduate and four years of medical training with at least three years of residency.

What is osteopathic medicine?

Osteopathic medicine was founded in the late 1800s by an MD surgeon named A.T. Still. In the late 1800s the climate of medicine was bleak, most medical treatment involved the use of poisons like arsenic, bloodletting, and barbaric surgeries. He lost several of his family members in an influenza outbreak that left him disillusioned by current theory.

Through Dr. Still’s medical training and extreme personal motivation, he began to develop the neurological interrelationship between muscles, bones, nerves and organs. These principles served as foundations for the central nervous system-based treatment theories used today.

Osteopathic medicine identifies that disease processes have a neurological basis that can be treated. These treatments augment modern medical treatments.

How is a DO different from an MD?

Both DO and MD undergo four years undergraduate and four years medical school with at least three years residency with a focus on basic sciences and their application in clinical setting.

DO’s receive additional training in osteopathic medicine with focus on addressing central nervous system using osteopathic manipulation, injection techniques, and other medical tools.

What is osteopathic manipulation?

Osteopathic manipulation (OMT) is a hands-on system based in osteopathic medicine. It uses different interventions to calm down nervous system to help with different pathologies, ailments.

These interventions use manual pressure, address of range of motion and soft tissue strategies kind of like massage to treat the nervous system and consequently the problem.

OMT is used to treat:

  • Neck pain
  • Migraine and headache
  • Low back pain

Among other things.

OMT has been shown to be useful in multiple conditions. One of the more notable studies is in The New England Journal of Medicine where it evaluated OMT’s usefulness in low back pain.

A review article on the usefulness of OMT in neck pain was also produced by the National Counsel for Osteopathic Research.

What types of osteopathic manipulation are used for low back pain?

In its hundred years of application Osteopathic Medicine has seen the adaptation of multiple manual techniques.

These include:

Muscle energy technique: This involves stretching and contraction of muscles to trick the nervous system into calming down this is useful in spine as well as limbs.

Inhibitory technique: This is a common manual technique used in massage and physical therapy that uses pressure on muscles to calm them down.

Spinal adjustments: This is common technique where a spinal segment is taken to end of range of motion and a short light force is used to move a joint past a barrier. If used carefully and precisely with appropriate expertise, it’s a very powerful technique and is effective in calming down the central nervous system.

Strain Counterstrain: This is a technique that involves relaxing muscles and tissues by putting slack into them, making them looser. This is known to decrease neurological irritation allowing the nervous system to calm down.

Osteopathic medicine is a powerful system that has helped millions of people over the past hundred years. Its use acts as an excellent foundation for patient care. Creekside Physical Medicine uses osteopathic medicine as a central part of our care systems. We feel that it adds a dimension of central nervous system down regulation not found in other care and consequently improves our results.

Creekside Physical Medicine
and The Migraine Center

Online Appointment Booking Available.


5387 Manhattan Cir
Ste 201
Boulder, CO 80303