osteopathic manual medicine

Biomechanics is the study of physics and physical laws as they are applied to the body.  In fact it uses the same concepts as in the field of Structural and Mechanical Engineering looking at stress and strain patterns, torque, sheer, elasticity, visco-elasticity, force and resultant force vectors, loads, compression and tension dynamics.   The basic underlying objective of the biomechanically based osteopathic physician is to first establish the underlying physical causal relationships between lack of movement or tissue injury and the disorder resulting from these issues. The osteopath will determine whether and where there are causal structural imbalances within the patient’s body, and then work to re-establish the balance using non-forceful self-guided, resistive adjustment maneuvers.
The biomechanically-based osteopath will carefully assess the patient’s subjective description of their disorder (the history), then proceed with a thorough an exam of the various components of the physical body, starting first with a thorough neurological exam, then a specialized mechanical assessment of the standing posture as it relates to the pelvis, spine, sacrum, cranium shoulder girdle, rib cage, muscle firing patterns, and the various other structures that might be related to the disorder, i.e., feet,  knees, hips, spine, shoulders, head and neck for example.  The patient will then be assessed in three planes of motion; standing, lying supine and prone and then seated.  Once the underlying cause of the damage or disorder has been established structurally and the motion restrictions are identified, the biomechanically based osteopath works with the patient to guide them through an isometric self-correction process that reprograms the nervous systems tone to the muscles on either side of the joint that realigns structural imbalance and results in increased range of motion and often elimination of pain.  Re-establishing a new neural program at both the spinal cord and cortical (brain), levels results in long-standing restorative change.
This process has been compared in a very simple example of a house built on an un-level foundation.  Due to settling, eventually doors and windows upstairs will no longer slide open or close in their casings.  The plaster in the upstairs rooms will sheer and crack showing symptoms of stress and strain.  Patching the plaster and adjusting the doors and windows only treats the symptoms.  Until the structural integrity is restored the problems will reoccur.