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Complementary Sports Medicine for the Athlete

Updated: Jun 2

Osteopathic manipulation is rooted in four principal beliefs:

  1. The body is a unit; the person 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 on an understanding of the first three principles.

Let's face it: Sports are an important part of American culture, and of staying healthy and fit.

Wear and tear on the body can start to take a toll. Osteopathic manipulation (OMT) is complementary sports medicine and can help with athletic optimization. The goal of osteopathic medicine in this sense is to restore postural balance and symmetry of the body in order to maximize pain-free movement of the musculoskeletal system. Competing at a high level requires structurally and functionally healthy tissues, coordination of the neuromuscular network, and a clear and focused mind.

How does OMT help optimize you and your athlete and prevent sportsinjury?

Spinal Strength and Symmetry

One objective finding for #OMT is seen in a study by Keller et al. Looking at 20 patients, they found that manipulation of the spine allowed the erector spinae (muscles that keep the spine straight and aligned) in the lower back. This means those muscles increase their output to keep the spine straight and function properly in the immediate period after spinal manpulation.

Post-Competition Recovery

Lactic acid buildup during anaerobic exercise is correlated with muscle fatigue and can slow recovery and increase soreness after a strenuous activity. Speeding this clearance could speed recovery and reduce post-athletic soreness. This study looked OMT vs sham treatment on lactic acid levels of male athletes performance immediately after activity. Lactic acid levels were drawn at 5, 15, and 30 minutes after an anaerobic cycling test. Blood lactate levels were 'significantly' lower at 15 and 30 minutes in the OMT group than the sham group. As this study shows, it is ideal to do this as soon as possible after anaerobic activity.

Concussion Recovery

Unfortunately, #concussions are a real part of contact sports. Improvement in sports equipment have attempted to decrease concussions, but nothing is 100% preventative. OMT has been found to decrease post-concussive symptoms faster than education of post-concussive symptoms alone. Further investigation in a separate study revealed that the symptoms resolve similarly at 6 weeks in the treatment and non-treatment groups, but this shows that Osteopathic Manipulation can speed time to recovery after a concussion.

What can OMT do for you? Book your insurance-based appointment today. Interested in having your group or team treated before or after a game or match? Contact Dr. Betler for a further discussion at, book online at, or call 203-651-5090. Athletes of all ages treated.

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