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OMT schools of thought: What’s in a name?

Perhaps the time has come for OMT practitioners to cease naming treatments according to a school of thought. The principles of treatment are far more important than the name of the practitioner who first developed the technique. It is not important that a technique, for example, was originally part of the “Kaltenborn”, “Cyriax”, “Maitland”, or any other method. Such compartmentalization of clinical practice hinders the development and growth of the OMT profession. The best OMT practitioners do not restrict their practice to a single approach or school of thought, but rather develop expertise in many systems. Master clinicians utilize techniques derived from many sources, modifying, combining and refining their repertoire of techniques into a unique application for each individual patient. As OMT practice so evolves, the principles of treatment which encompass all schools of thought will more clearly emerge.

Ancient roots of joint traction

Stretching kyphosis technique attributed to Hippocrates

Joint traction and manual manipulation have been used for musculoskeletal treatment since early times. Woodcuts, stone reliefs, and statues illustrate traction treatments in use over 5000 years ago. Today, joint traction and manual therapy are integrated into the practice of many disciplines.

Following is a brief pictorial history of joint traction in musculoskeletal treatment. The history illustrates the refinement of joint traction techniques over the ages and its evolution into its modern forms. Today, Nordic System Orthopedic Manual Therapy incorporates joint traction into all its manual joint techniques, in various subtleties and degrees. Continue reading

Joint manipulation in physical therapy schools

Kaltenborn lumbar traction-manipulation

Lumbar traction-manipulation.

It is critically important that joint manipulation be taught in physical therapy schools. Some physical therapy schools omit manipulative training, and this fact is taken by some courts of law as justification to prevent physical therapists from delivering manipulative treatment. Over the past century there have been repeated attempts from both within and outside the physical therapy profession, to limit the practice of joint manipulation. I have battled against these efforts for decades, and continue to support and promote the skilled delivery of manipulative treatment by physical therapists.