I have been in the rehabilitation, health, and fitness profession since 1999. The vast majority of my work has focused on clinical applications and chronic pain since 2002, working primarily with spinal pathologies, back pain, neck pain, and headaches. To date, I have helped countless people overcome pain, where the more “traditional” approaches have failed. Have I helped everyone that has sought my services? No. Everyone has not met with success. Why? Well, as I often inform my 10 year old, “You get out what you put in.” Unfortunately, some people are simply not willing to put in the work required to overcome their pain syndrome.
After many years spent working and reaping success in my field, I am still questioned by friends, family members, acquaintances, etc. exactly what it is that I do. Apparently, the rather frequent inquiry is due to my own inability to effectively and efficiently answer the question. A question I will attempt to answer in this article as it pertains to the physical/rehabilitation side of my practice.
About the Physical Side of my Practice
To make a very long story somewhat short, the concept of my work involves removing tension that obstructs optimal mechanics in the body, as well as addressing musculoskeletal issues. No, I am not a Massage Therapist. I am not a Physical Therapist. I am not a Chiropractor. I am not a Rolfer, Heller Worker, Physiotherapist, etc., and I do not hold a medical license of any kind – nor do I desire to.
At present, I am finishing up my D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy) in true, European-style, Manual Osteopathy – “official” title will be Osteopathic Manual Practitioner here in the States. I’ve studied and taken courses in many different disciplines, those of which you can interpret on my “About” page.
In my opinion (which is based on a decade of education, study, experimentation, and research), Manual Osteopathy is the most complete system available for care of the human framework. And as most of you are probably wondering, “What the hell is Manual Osteopathy?” Osteopathy is a philosophy that was founded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. (1828-1917). Osteopathy is a client-centered discipline based on understanding the relationship between structure and function in order to enhance the body’s inherent ability to heal. It relies on skilled manual therapeutic techniques (though it is much more than a system of techniques) to assess and treat the client/patient, guiding the natural self-healing properties of the human body. The philosophy of Osteopathy is based on four basic principles:
1 The body is a unit – the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.
2 The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.
3 Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
4 Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
I was first introduced to Manual Osteopathy in 2001, and self-studied much of the literature for 2-3 years before undertaking training and courses for the use of manual techniques in the field. During my early manual osteopathy studies, I was introduced to Muscle EnergyTechniques (MET). I am personally very fond of Muscle Energy Techniques and their original development by Fred L. Mitchell, Sr., D.O. Reason being, I am a huge fan of shit that works, and MET, when applied correctly and at the appropriate time, works. Currently, I have a keen interest in the theory and mechanics involved with Osteopathy in the Cranial Field, and my thesis will cover a bit of this topic as it relates to permanent pain elimination.
So (as I take a deep breath), what does that really entail for clients seeking my services…how do I help them, and, more importantly, how do I help them help themselves?
First and foremost, I orchestrate a consultation with my clients to discuss their case in detail, which is accomplished either in person or over the phone. Typically, I serve as a ‘last resort’ for the client. By the time they get to me, they have been through the medical ringer and have seen anywhere from a few to a dozen traditional professionals for their pain with little to no results. My job is to look where no one else is looking and “see” what no one else sees.
Following that, I conduct my assessment, which is based on evaluating the cranial nerves and Higher Order Reflexes in order to identify where the greatest roadblocks in structure and function are located (also a component of my upcoming thesis). From there, I use “non-manipulative,” hands-on, manual techniques combined with movement re-education in order to help clients eliminate their pain – for good. The client is always actively engaged in their rehabilitation process.
Clients will typically see me for one-on-one work for anywhere from 3 to 6 sessions (some less, some more, depending on the case), and I l always administer “homework” in order to speed the process along. Again, the client is always actively engaged in their rehabilitation process.
Ask anyone that has worked with me. They will tell you that I am a ‘why’ guy. My clients are extensively educated on why we are doing what we are doing for their particular case. I leave no stone unturned. Techniques I employ are very gentle, and the client’s body is the guide. I am not, nor have I ever been, a fan of aggressive or harsh techniques for joints or soft tissues. I prefer to work with the body rather than against it. As I always translate to my clientele, “Nothing I do is forceful…if you use force, the body will create a counterforce, and you will chase your tail forever.”
I am also a straight shooter. I do not blow sunshine up anyone’s rear end. I inform all of my clients that if they are not experiencing a pain reduction and an ability to move without pain within the first 3-6 sessions, I will refer them to someone who I feel may be better equipped to help them (this is rare, but it does happen).
It is not my objective to make clients dependent upon me. My goal is quite the opposite. I want to get my clients as self-reliant as possible, as fast as possible, and they can check back in every month or so, or as needed if something pops up for what I call a “tune-up” session. Those sessions may last 30 minutes and includes tweaks to their home program(s).
And there you have it: what I do on the physical side of my practice in a nutshell. I’m not sure if that effectively answers the question, but it’s what I have for you at the moment.
Thank you for reading!