Optimal results are achieved when the patient takes an active role in the wellness plan. This is a phrase published in a brochure describing the details of my work. As a specialist in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine & Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (given my love of words, I went for the 25-syllable option when choosing a specialty) patients often present with pain, which is usually multifactorial in nature. Given that the majority of evaluations result in the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) to address mechanical dysfunction, there can be an expectation of “fix me.” This is rarely a successful, sustainable approach.
For me, the doctor-patient relationship is an active, intentional and dynamic one. OMT is a procedure. It requires consent, an understanding of the purpose and intention, a mutual awareness of tolerance to techniques used and established dialogue to assess need for modification. The in-office treatment is largely a jumping off point – nudging the boat into the current of health but what will keep it from drifting into the banks, getting turned around or even capsizing?
Staying afloat, moving forward, reaching a desired destination downstream requires participation, the right equipment and cooperation with the entire treatment plan. Modern life is not often the gentle float I experienced in my youth up north in Michigan, where you could cross the river in a few steps and stand up at any point along the way. More often, it seems, we are faced with the Class 5 rapids I have witnessed here in Oregon, powerful, able to throw you off course, out of the boat, with hidden currents and rocks beneath the surface.
It can be helpful, even life-saving, to have a knowledgeable guide in such circumstances.