Detroit Family Medicine

What is Osteopathic Medicine?

What is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine or “DO”? 

The best way to define an Osteopathic Physician is by what they believe. They follow the four tenets or principles of Osteopathic Medicine. They are as follows:

  1. The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.

  2. The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.

  3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.

  4. Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function. 

In short, an osteopathic physician is trained to treat the person as a whole as every body system can relate to one another. Because of this holistic approach, not surprisingly many DOs have a strong interest in preventative health and primary care.

Osteopathic physicians complete four years of medical school and at least three years of residency, just like their Allopathic or MD counterparts. However, in addition to their stethoscopes and medical exam equipment, DOs have special training to use their hands as diagnostic and therapeutic tools with a treatment called Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

Dr. Raquel Orlich uses her hands to treat a patient at the Plum Health DPC; this is known as Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

Dr. Raquel Orlich uses her hands to treat a patient at the Plum Health DPC; this is known as Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine?

A DO or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is trained in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine also known as “OMM or OMT” during medical school and residency. It is a hands-on technique used to help diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury.  

During an osteopathic exam, a head to toe assessment will be performed to evaluate for abnormalities that the Doctor can feel with their hands called somatic dysfunctions. These abnormalities may have an effect on your activities of daily living, like dressing, eating, and bathing. They may also disrupt the way you walk and the way you move because they may be painful, and this can impact your overall quality of life. 

Somatic dysfunctions can be defined as impaired or altered function of the somatic (body framework) system: skeleton, joints, and myofascial structures (muscles, ligaments, tendons) and their relation to the blood vessels, lymphatic system, and nerves. 

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine or DO employs treatments that restore and improve range of motion, by focusing on realigning trouble spots. Treatment modalities are patient specific and can include myofascial release (soft tissue work), muscle energy, high velocity low amplitude (traditional chiropractic work), counterstrain, and Still technique. During the visit, time will be set aside to discuss home stretches, exercises, and injury prevention.

What conditions can an Osteopathic Physician Treat with Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine?

Dr. Raquel Orlich uses the Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine technique to diagnose and treat a patient with a musculoskeletal health problem at the Plum Health DPC clinic in Detroit, Michigan.

Dr. Raquel Orlich uses the Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine technique to diagnose and treat a patient with a musculoskeletal health problem at the Plum Health DPC clinic in Detroit, Michigan.

Here is a list of common issues that can be treated and improved with OMM

  • Pain related to improper alignment in the back, hips, shoulders, and neck (chronic and acute)

  • Musculoskeletal pain of the arm and leg

  • Nerve impingement (sciatica, radiculopathy)

  • Range of motion of tissues and joints

  • Headache (tension, migraine, and sinus)

  • Constipation

If you are dealing with some of the issues listed above, you may be a good candidate for OMM as a safe and effective form of therapy. Getting an appointment is easy, just click this link.

-Dr. Raquel

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine 


Trashtag Challenge at Plum Health DPC

On Monday, April 22nd, it was Earth Day, and last month we contributed by completing the Trashtag Challenge! The Trashtag Challenge is where you get a bunch of your friends, neighbors, colleagues, or classmates and get outside and pick up as much trash as possible, taking before and after pictures to document the process.

When the snow melted in March, it revealed a ton of trash in our parking lot, which was not appreciated. I went out with my friend and colleague, Rob, and we absolutely destroyed a patch of refuse and debris.

But, there was still more work to be done, and we went out with a group of about 12 more people and cleared out more trash from the parking lot and surrounding areas. This is really important because trash and what we do with it has a big impact on our community and our health. Trash and its presence, or absence, impacts the way that we feel about our community.

Paul Thomas MD with a group of students from the Detroit School of Digital Technology, cleaning up trash from our parking lot at 1759 21st Street, Detroit, MI 48216.

Paul Thomas MD with a group of students from the Detroit School of Digital Technology, cleaning up trash from our parking lot at 1759 21st Street, Detroit, MI 48216.

There was a bunch of trash beforehand, but we got it done - many hands make light work! This is the Plum Health DPC and DSDT crew cleaning up our shared parking lot and completing the Trashtag Challenge.

There was a bunch of trash beforehand, but we got it done - many hands make light work! This is the Plum Health DPC and DSDT crew cleaning up our shared parking lot and completing the Trashtag Challenge.

I’ll close this with a challenge - can you get a group of people together and clean up a small patch of your community?

Thanks for reading and have a great week! - Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC