Osteopathic manual therapy emphasizes the structure-function interrelationship. The goal of osteopathic manual techniques is to maximize movement and function to enhance the level of wellness and assist in recovery from injury and disease. Osteopathic manual therapy encompasses the following techniques:
Muscle Energy Techniques (MET): The process of the patient contracting a muscle in a controlled manner and direction against the force of a therapist to:
- Lengthen a shortened, spastic muscle
- Restore strength to an inhibited muscle
- Reduce local fluid
- Mobilize a restricted joint or spinal segment
Direct Joint Mobilization: A procedure aimed at improving motion and mechanics within a joint by applying graded force. The grade of force selected is determined by the therapist based on the treatment goal. Lower grades of force are selected to aide in pain relief, where as greater levels of force are used to increase motion within a joint.
High Velocity Low Amplitude Thrust (HVLA): The therapist localizes the dysfunctional joint or spinal segment with motion loss. Once all of the "slack" within the treatment area is taken up, the clinician applies a quick and low amplitude (small) thrust to restore the restricted motion.
Functional Indirect Technique: Relative to a segment within the spine, the functional approach does not consider the vertebrae to be "out of place," however attempts to restore coordinated activity with other segments of the vertebral column. This is achieved by moving the involved area away from the restrictive barrier involving the neurological system to facilitate relaxation and improved motion.