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What is Osteopathy? What is a D.O.? What is an Osteopath?

A Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) is a fully license medical physician who may train in any of the 50 states, and practice in any medical specialty from pediatrics to Surgery.  In addition to allopathic (MD) medical knowledge, osteopathic physicians are trained in Osteopathic Manipulations, which as a system enables DO's to provide additional hands on diagnostic and treatment options.  Dr. Clifford Hoffman is a DO who has completed an Allopathic (MD) residency and is Board Certified in Family Medicine, who also uses Osteopathic Manipulations to treat his patients in their entirety.


Osteopathic physicians are trained to veiw the pateint as a whole in order to find wellness and cure illness.  When physicians focus only on a specific disease or body part, they often miss larger issues that may be the root of all of a patients problems.  Hands on diagnosis and treatments often help discover and treat problems early on, before they become serious and incurable. 

Osteopathic manipulation techniques were developed with the principles that the body is a dynamic unit of function, and body structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.  When structures are altered, abnormalities can occur in related body systems.  Alternatively, when there are problems within a body system, it can cause changes in the associated structures.  These abnormalities can manifest as restrictions of motion, tenderness or pain, tissue changes, and asymmetry.  Using Osteopathic manipulation techniques, we can improve the altered structures in addition to their related functions.

Some osteopathic techniques Dr. Hoffman uses to diagnose and treat:

- Direct and Indirect Muscle Energy:

     - In these techniques, the physician works with the bodies own muscles to help improve mobility and alignment of an individual.

- Counterstrain:

     - In this technique the physician places a patient in a position of ease in order to break a positive feedback pain and muscle contraction loop that when left alone often leads to further injury of an area.  This is a very delicate technique that can be used even on very uncomfortable patients

- HVLA:  (High Velocity Low Amplitude) Also known as Thrust technique:

     - This technique is used to restore specific joint motion within the physiologic range of motion of a specific joint.  This technique is often beneficial for short duration somatic dysfunctions that prevent a specific range of motion.

- Craniosacral Osteopathy:

     - Inside of the head and spine there is a strong covering of the brain and spinal cord called the dura.  This dura helps separate the fluid in the central nervous system from that without.  The central nervous system plays a role in every part of our bodies.  The movement of the cerebral spinal fluid produces a cranial rhythmic motion, which affects the way our bodies function and feel.  Cranial Osteopathy uses extremely subtle techniques to address this space and can be very effective in treating chronic pain, migraine headaches, as well as many other conditions.

- Myofascial Release:

     - In this technique, a force is applied to the myofascial structures either in the direction of greatest ease of tension, or directly against it, and held in order to promote relaxation of the myofascial structures or to help break free from adhesions and promote freedom of movement.

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