Sunday, October 26, 2008

Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.)

We met with a doctor of osteopathy (otherwise known as a D.O.). If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably never heard of an osteopath before.

So what is an osteopath? Osteopaths have the same amount of schooling as M.D.s and have the same rights in hospitals, but D.O.s specialize in a person’s skeletal structure and take more of a whole body approach. We took our son to a D.O. to hopefully help with the shape of his head.

Introduction to Osteopathy

Many D.O.s don’t practice cranial manipulation, so it’s important to find the right one. This is the second D.O. we’ve met. The first was really nice, but she called herself a “bad D.O.” because she didn’t often apply osteopathy with her patients and had no experience with cranial manipulation. She thought osteopathy would help our son and encouraged us to find a D.O., but unfortunately didn’t know anyone who could help us. Fortunately, we got a reference elsewhere for an osteopath who did have experience with children.

We feel comfortable with the D.O. we are working with. He has worked with children and one of his specialties is cranial manipulation, which is what we wanted for our son.

The doctor manipulated our son's skeleton, which was really interesting. He started with the bottom of our son’s spine and ended the session working on his head. It was hard to get our son to sit still, but he faired well.

It’s a very gentle approach and almost seemed a bit like a massage. The doctor compared the manipulation to working on a stuck drawer. If you pull on a stuck drawer hard, you won’t get anywhere and will only make the drawer worse. But, if you know the correct place to push and are gentle about it, you can easily get a drawer unstuck. We thought this was an effective analogy.

One exciting thing the doctor said was that sometimes osteopathy can help with head growth. That is so exciting! Of course, he can’t promise us anything, but I think either way, this therapy will only help him. After his manipulation, the doctor told us that our son has tightness on the top front of his skull (where his ridge is) and the back of his skull is also tight. The thought is that that tightness is pushing down and could be restricting his head growth.

It’s so interesting to me how D.O.s can be trained to feel the fascia on the skull, can move things around to facilitate growth and to help to prevent the skull from fusing prematurely, and to help make sure the cerebral spinal fluid is flowing correctly. It’s another one of those things I don’t completely understand, but I think that it makes sense. I’m just amazed that he can feel all those things. When I touch our son's head, all I feel is a head. We’ll be seeing this doc once every two weeks for awhile, so it’s looking like this busy lifestyle won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

Here are a few links I found useful.

What is Osteopathy
Cranial Osteopathy
Neurodevelopmental Problems

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing what this therapy can actually do. I look forward to hearing about your son's progress.