The non-narcotic, spine and nerve pain, Osteopathic Manipulation, Trigger Point Injections, Nerve Testing, EMG MD in Oklahoma City

Osteopathic Manipulation

FAQs about Osteopathic Manipulation 

What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)?

OMM is a hands-on technique that was started by an MD in the late 1800’s (Andrew Taylor Still or “AT Still”), and it is a technique that is applied when a patient has “mechanical or somatic dysfunction” (see definition below). The purpose of OMM is to normalize tension in the soft tissues, free up the joints so they can move more freely, reduce pain and stiffness, and improve your physical function. Dr. Hancock is an M.D. who has studied OMM since 2006. 

What is “Mechanical Dysfunction”?

This is a medical condition in which there is too much physical tension in certain areas of your body (tight soft tissues, usually), and it is usually accompanied by pain and stiffness. Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) call this same condition “somatic dysfunction.” Commonly involved areas include the spine, shoulder blades, hips, and typical symptoms include headaches, dizziness, TMJ or jaw pain, sacroiliac joint pain, and even discomfort in the arms and legs. 

How does OMM work?

Osteopathic Manipulation alleviates soft tissue tension and pain to optimize your ability to move and function normally.  Your muscles should work in synchrony, with some relaxing and others tightening, to allow for proper movement. However, when some of your muscles are abnormally tight, the result can be like a “tug of war” between muscles, resulting in abnormal joint movement, pain, stiffness, and loss of range of motion. OMM fixes that problem. OMM may also improve blood flow because reducing muscle spasms takes the pressure off of your tiny capillaries, allowing for improved gas and nutrient exchange between your blood and your tissues. In turn, improved blood flow allows the natural healing factors in your bloodstream to get to the tissues to do their thing. Improved blood flow also allows for medicines in your blood to get to their target organ. 

Isn’t OMM a DO thing rather than an MD thing?

Usually, yes! However, Dr. Hancock is a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), which means that she is a non-surgical musculoskeletal specialist, and appreciating the contribution of soft tissue disorders to pain flows naturally out of her MD residency training. Additionally, when she suffered a back injury in 2006 and was treated with OMM, she saw first-hand what this kind of treatment can accomplish. It was so much better than “normal” physical therapy! From that point onward, she chose to stop doing those invasive spinal epidural injections, to stop sending (most) patients to physical therapy (PT), and she committed to learning Osteopathic Manipulationso she could treat her patients with that less invasive technique, instead.​

Is Regular PT still necessary if you’re getting OMM?

For primarily soft tissue (muscular) spine pain problems, Dr. Hancock rarely sends patients to physical therapy. However, for structural problems (ligament tears, sprains, strains, fractures, etc.), balance disorders, and selected other medical problems, she absolutely believes in the benefit of PT.

Are there any medications that might help?

Dr. Hancock sometimes prescribes muscle relaxants to take the edge off your symptoms between visits, but she goes easy on the acetaminophen-containing medications (due to the risk of liver damage), NSAIDs (risk of gastrointestinal and kidney damage). Her talent is in healing with her hands.

Can I be on opioids (narcotics) and still be her patient?

Dr. Hancock will not get in the way of what you do with your other doctors. If a different doctor wants to prescribe controlled substances for you, that is between you and the other doctor. Dr. Hancock will not try to get you off that medicine. She will merely focus on the hands-on part and leave the pill-prescribing to your other doctor.

What’s the difference between Osteopathic Manipulation Medicine and chiropractic?

Chiropractors are all about making the bones move back into alignment, whereas many Osteopaths (and some MDs like Dr. Hancock) aim primarily to reduce tissue tension so the body can relax into its optimal alignment without being forceful. 

What conditions may be helped by OMM?

  • Neck, thoracic, and lumbar spinal problems, even when the x-rays and MRIs don’t show much wrong.
  • Sacroiliac joint & hip or buttock pain
  • Headaches
  • TMJ or jaw popping and/or pain
  • Shoulder blade pain
  • Joint aches and pains
  • Pains that are hard to describe, “It feels like pulling,” “It’s like a heaviness…,”
  • Chest/rib area pain that is proven to not be due to heart or lung problems, “It feels like an ice pick when I take a deep breath.”
  • Other unexplained pains or weakness, numbness, or tingling.
  • Pinched nerves
  • Pains due to one leg being longer than the other (you might be born “asymmetrical” or you may experience a change in the length of a limb due to joint wear and tear, joint replacement surgeries, fractures, etc.)
  • Pregnancy-related low back pain
  • Weakness
  • Swelling of the limbs or trunk (if it’s due to muscular issues)
  • Shortness of breath that is not due to heart or lung problems (tightness of chest wall muscle can impede breathing, too!)
  • Motor vehicle collisions and personal injury cases, Worker’s Comp, Medicare, and most other commercial health insurance.

What factors might limit the beneficial effects of OMM?

  • Your natural body type
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatologic or other inflammatory disorders
  • Severe spine problems or other structural abnormalities
  • Anxiety, depression, addiction, and other psychiatric disorders, as well as a history of significant abuse, neglect, abandonment, or other issues that can lead to stress and difficulty coping with your pain

How did I get this problem in the first place?

Over the years, your body is likely to have collected physical traumas, injuries, and accidents, not to mention the consequences of unhealthy habits (bad posture), plus the effects of emotional stress (stress can literally become physical because it can change your posture and invade your sleep, making muscles tense). Even repetitive or violent coughing, sneezing, and vomiting can add to this physical load that increases your soft tissue tension. Eventually, you may not be able to compensate anymore for all these physical stressors, and you may begin to experience pain and stiffness. 

​Why didn’t the MRI or x-rays show this problem?

MRIs, CAT scans, and X-rays are good at identifying fractures, bad discs, and arthritis (among other problems), but they do not show doctors whether soft tissue is pulling too tightly on bones or other structures. 

Why didn’t my other doctors diagnose this problem?

Relatively few doctors are trained to look for these soft tissue problems, and even fewer practice osteopathic manipulation, even if they were trained to do so in medical school. One deterrent is that it takes many years of practice to get good at OMM. Another deterrent is that it can take an entire office visit to do the soft tissue work, and it can be hard for family doctors to find time to do the manipulation along with all the other things patients sometimes wish to address. In Dr. Hancock’s case, she was personally motivated to enter this field because Osteopathic Manipulation cured her own back pain and she wanted to offer that treatment to others. ​

What should I expect after a treatment? 

Most patients report feeling better after treatment, but a few patients feel sore the next day. This soreness is usually short-lived. Depending on your other medical problems, Dr. Hancock may advise you to take a mild over-the-counter pain reliever or use ice or heat to help you get by. Typically, your follow-up appointment will be set for a couple of weeks after your first treatment. You will find that fewer treatments will be required with OMM, compared to chiropractic. ​

Is there anything I can do at home to speed up my recovery?

Dr. Hancock created an exercise book, with stretches that you can do to help equalize the muscle tension in different areas, but you would need to attend formal physical therapy to make sure you are doing those exercises correctly. Most patients mean well, INTENDING to do those stretches, but the vast majority fail to keep them up long term. For this reason, Dr. Hancock doesn’t usually bring up the stretches. If you truly believe you will do them long term, feel free to ask Dr. Hancock about the stretch book. It costs $25 and insurance does NOT pay for it, but you can pay by cash, check, or charge if you want it.

Are there any activities I should avoid?

If you feel a respiratory or GI infection coming on, check with your PCP, but then medicate yourself with whatever over-the-counter meds your PCP suggests to avoid coughing, sneezing, and/or vomiting. Doing those things will make your muscular symptoms worse. Also, when you lift heavy objects, keep your elbows in at your sides rather than stretched out ahead of you.

Will this recur? How often do I have to be seen?

Mechanical dysfunction may recur if you have genetically loose ligaments; if you have had a ligamentous injury resulting in a loose joint; if you have certain bad postures that you repeatedly fall into (e.g. a young mom carrying a toddler on one hip, sitting at your desk with your legs crossed, etc.); if you have recurrent traumas/strains/falls; or if you are under a great deal of stress and inadvertently tense up your shoulders or other body parts when you’re emotionally stressed. The frequency with which you need to be seen will depend on these factors. Some people can be “fixed” in a couple of visits, and others, who tend to be more tense or complicated, may need to be seen every few weeks on a more ongoing basis. 

Please read

COVID-19 Precautions & Policies

Lifestyle, people different emotions and covid-19 pandemic concept. Smiling handsome asian man in

You must wear a properly-fitting mask at all times while on our premises. If you have a fever over 100F (or 38C) or traveled recently please call us immediately to reschedule your appointment. Patients exposed to COVID-19 must self-quarantine for 14 days or provide negative test results, taken no less than 5 days after exposure, prior to rescheduling. We require all patients to to practice good hygiene when visiting the office. This includes bathing directly before your visit and freshly clean clothes. You may be asked to change into our exam gowns if any physical contact with the doctor is expected. To read more about our COVID-19 precautions and policies, and to find out how we are protecting you, please click view precautions and policies button below.