Marianne T. Longacre, D.O. 

Board Certified in Family Practice and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
Yale New Haven Health, Northeast Medical Group, INC

What is Osteopathy?

The first Osteopathic medical school was established in 1874 by an MD named Dr. Still. Some twenty years before, three of his children died from meningitis. He was dissatisfied with the medical practice and thinking of his day. Through years of study, he came to the conclusion that people got better from disease, illness and trauma when dysfunctions in their musculoskeletal system were corrected. He named this holistic approach to medical care Osteopathy.

In 1929, Dr. Sutherland, who was a student of Dr. Still, expanded the practice of Osteopathy to include the cranium. Physicians who practice Cranial Osteopathy treat the whole person and acknowledge the importance of the delicate yet potent movements of the cranial bones, sacrum, dura, central nervous system, and cerebrospinal fluid in initiating and maintaining health.

Osteopathic Physicians complete four years of medical school. They train in the hospitals in internship and residency programs. Most Osteopathic physicians specialize in family practice, internal medicine, surgery , pediatrics, and obstetrics. They are licensed to practice in offices and hospitals, perform surgery and prescribe medicines in all 50 states.

Osteopathy is a distinctive branch of medicine that holds dearly to three basic principals:

1.  The body functions as a whole organism, and every part of the body is involved in its overall state of health.
2.  The musculoskeletal structure of the body and the physiological functions (growth, respiratory, neurologic, immune, digestive, reproductive) are interrelated and dependent on one another for health.
3.  The body has an incredible ability to heal itself. The body heals and repairs itself all the time. There are times, however, when the body needs help to propel its way back to health.

Children and Osteopathy

Many children may benefit from osteopathic evaluation and treatment.   You may know your child is having problems even when you are told that everything is "normal".  Children are not usually able to verbalize what is wrong when they are not feeling well.  Signs that your child can potentially benefit from Osteopathy include:

  • Misshapen Head at Birth, torticollis, after a prolonged or difficult delivery
  • Irritable, Fussy, Colicky
  • Developmental Delay, in conjunction with appropriate medical and therapeutic care 
  • Recurrent Infections, after appropriate medical evaluation and work up 
  • Headache, Back Pain, sports injuries, post concussion problems 
  • Behavioral and Emotional Changes, Especially After a Fall
    (Children fall many times during their formative years.  Untreated twists and strains in their musculoskeletal system from falls or traumatic birth can be the cause or aggravating factor in problems of growth and development).

Healthy growth and development of every child requires good nutrition, exercise, a nurturing environment, and a loving family.  Developing mind, body, and spirit are much a part of health.  Preventive medicine is a key to health.  Of tremendous value is having your child treated Osteopathically during growth spurts, after significant trauma, and after seasonal sporting activities.

Your child's visit begins with a detailed history.  Of particular importance is the history of the pregnancy, labor and delivery, surgeries, orthodontia.  We ask about eating and sleeping habits, speech, growth and development.

The child is evaluated from head to toe.  The body is one dynamic unit of function, such that a situation in the hip can be an aggravating factor in crawling, walking, headaches, or difficult to control asthma.  The musculoskeletal system gives the physician who practices Osteopathy a lot of information on how well the child is physiologically and neurologically functioning.  Restrictions of the rib cage, for example, can cause problems with breathing, digestion and reflux.  The body has a tremendous ability to heal itself, and if restrictions in the musculoskeletal system are treated and corrected, the healthy functioning of the body can reach its fullest potential.

The Osteopathic treatment involves a gentle contact by well-trained hands.  The tissues of the body are mobilized and encouraged to resume a more symmetrical and free motion.  Once comfortable, many children sleep through the treatment.

Osteopathic Treatment

Osteopathic physicians (D.O.'s) provide you with all the best that medicine has to offer. They can specialize in every recognized area of medicine, from pediatrics to psychiatry to neurosurgery. However, their knowledge and use of the latest medical technology is complemented by their applications of hands-on diagnosis and treatment tool known as osteopathic manipulative treatment, or OMT.

Using OMT, D.O.'s bring an added dimension to health care, in the form of non-invasive therapy. DO.'s use OMT to diagnose, treat and even prevent illness or injury. When appropriate, OMT can be used in conjunction with (or in place of) medication or surgery.

The ABC's of OMT and How it Can Work for You

Many people report suffering from acute or chronic pain. Treatment for pain is not limited to prescription medication. Research is showing that opioid pain medications are only beneficial for certain short term acute pain. The greatest way of not misusing opioid medications is to not start them in the first pace. And research shows that opioid medications are not helpful in chronic pain, mostly because they loose their effect and actually inhibit patients from doing other activities that can improve their physical function and quality of life.

OMT is predicated upon your D.O.'s knowledge of medicine. Once your D.O. has ruled out organic causes for your illness or injury (through appropriate testing, X-rays, etc.) and based upon physical/mechanical findings, she may decide to utilize manipulation. While manipulative medicine is commonly associated with physical ailments such as low back pain, this treatment modality can also be used to relieve the dysfunctional symptoms associated with a number of disorders, including:
lymphedema, constipation, gastroesophageal reflux, chronic sinusitis.
                                                    
The osteopathic approach to treating many diseases includes medication and/or surgical intervention, plus manipulation. OMT can relieve muscle pain associated with a disease and can hasten your recovery from illnesses by promoting blood flow through tissues.

Your Structural Exam

Diagnosis

Your structural exam will begin with an assessment of your posture, spine and balance. Dr. Longacre will then use her fingers to palpate your back and extremities. She will also check your joints for restriction and/or pain during motion, as well as your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, where tenderness can signal a problem. Through extensive osteopathic training in manipulative medicine,  Dr. Longacre can detect changes in tissue, however small, that signal injury or impairment.

Once the structural exam is complete, Dr. Longacre will integrate this information with your medical history, a complete physical exam, and will then establish a treatment plan.

Treatment

Using a variety of OMT techniques, Dr. Longacre will apply manual forces to your body's affected areas to treat structural abnormalities and will then apply specific corrective forces to relieve joint restrictions and misalignments. Based upon the complexity or severity of your problem, you may require more than one treatment.