Osteopathy is one of two distinct schools of medicine in the USA. Founded by Andrew Taylor Still in the late 19th century, osteopathy focuses on the prevention of illness and the ability of the body to heal itself. Both medical doctors (M.D.s) and doctors of osteopathy (D.O.s) attend medical school and several years of residency. One technique commonly used in osteopathy is osteopathic manipulation.
Osteopathic manipulation is similar but distinct from chiropractic care. It involves physical contact and pressure to treat disease and improve health. Treatments may include stretching, spinal traction, ‘cracking’ joints, or applying pressure to painful or stiff areas. It works particularly well for problems affecting the muscles and joints, such as back or neck pain, some kinds of headaches, and sports injuries.
In the case of more serious illnesses, some patients combine conventional treatments with osteopathic manipulation. Manipulation can increase blood flow, relax muscles, and increase movement, as well as make patients feel better. In this way, osteopathic manipulation can be effective for a wide variety of ailments.