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What to Expect From Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (O.M.T.)
Blue Ridge Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, PLC
Welcome to Blue Ridge O.M.M.! You may be wondering what to expect at your first visit. This handout is designed
to answer those questions and put your mind at ease. If you would like further information, please also visit our
website at
At your first visit, the doctor will obtain a complete medical history. Please remember to bring your completed “New
Patient Packet” with you. She will perform a physical examination, focusing on your musculoskeletal and
neurological systems, and any other areas that may be contributing to your problem. She may examine your posture,
gait, and/or spine. Then, she will use her hands to diagnose areas of somatic dysfunction in your body. After this, the
doctor may order and needed lab tests, X-rays, or other studies. If she chooses to prescribe O.M.T., you may receive
an abbreviated treatment on that day. A typical first visit will last between 30 and 45 minutes. Return visits will
typically last 20 minutes.
Your doctor will choose from many different approaches to treatment when formulating your individualized treatment
plan, based on your condition and unique medical history. She will generally use several different types of treatment
at each visit, to different areas of your body. Your role is to relax, and occasionally to help with treatment by
contracting a muscle or gently moving in a specific direction. O.M.T. is generally very comfortable—if you feel
uncomfortable in any way please say so.
Along with O.M.T., your doctor may prescribe non-narcotic medication for pain or related medical problems such as
insomnia or depression. Medications may even be prescribed for seemingly unrelated problems such as heartburn or
seasonal allergies, as these problems can contribute to muscle pain (called a “viscerosomatic reflex”). She may
prescribe a heel lift for your shoe, or exercises to be done at home. She may ask you to attempt lifestyle changes, such
as quitting tobacco or losing some weight. Please follow your treatment plan as prescribed—you will feel better faster.
After your visit, you may be sore for 24-72 hours as your body adapts to a new position. This is completely normal,
and indicates that your body is adjusting to a new position of being. If this occurs, know that it is temporary. Rest and
drink plenty of water. If you wish, you may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain (unless you have kidney or liver
problems or other contraindications to these medications). It is also completely normal to have no soreness after
A follow-up visit may be scheduled, generally in 1-2 weeks. Time between visits allows your body to adapt to
changes made with a treatment, so that the next visit is more effective. Most people notice improvement in their
symptoms after one or two office visits; however, if you and your doctor do not find improvement after four
treatments, your doctor will discuss other treatment options with you.
Once you are better, you do not need to return unless you have a recurrence of your problem. Some people with
chronic problems may require several visits per year, as symptoms arise.
(Copyright Dr. Sarah Steele-Killeen October 2004)