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Medical Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine And Physical Medicine

Discover the transformative power of Medical Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and Physical Medicine techniques that effectively alleviate pain and promote overall well-being.

USMLE Guide: Medical Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and Physical Medicine


The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States. Step 1 assesses basic scientific knowledge, while Step 2 evaluates clinical skills and clinical knowledge. This guide aims to provide an overview of the topic "Medical Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) and Physical Medicine" for USMLE preparation.

I. Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) is a unique aspect of osteopathic medicine that focuses on hands-on diagnosis and treatment. OMM techniques aim to enhance the body's self-healing and self-regulating capabilities. Key points to remember about OMM include:

  • Philosophy: OMM is based on the principle that the body has an innate ability to heal itself, and it aims to restore optimal function by addressing structural abnormalities and imbalances.
  • Diagnosis: Osteopathic physicians use their hands to identify areas of dysfunction through palpation and motion testing. They assess for restrictions, asymmetry, and tissue texture changes.
  • Treatment: OMM techniques include soft tissue manipulation, joint mobilization, muscle energy techniques, high-velocity low-amplitude thrusts, and cranial-sacral techniques. These techniques aim to improve circulation, facilitate tissue healing, and restore normal biomechanics.

II. Physical Medicine

Physical Medicine is a branch of medicine that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and management of disorders related to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. It involves non-surgical treatments to promote optimal functioning and alleviate pain. Key points to remember about physical medicine include:

  • Modalities: Physical medicine utilizes various modalities such as heat therapy, cold therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and therapeutic exercise to enhance healing, reduce pain, and restore function.
  • Pain Management: Physical medicine plays a crucial role in pain management. It involves the use of medications, injections, and procedures such as nerve blocks and trigger point injections to alleviate pain and improve quality of life.
  • Rehabilitation: Physical medicine focuses on rehabilitation after injuries or surgeries. Physical therapists play a key role in designing exercise programs, gait training, and functional mobility training to restore strength, range of motion, and functional abilities.

III. Overlapping Concepts

While OMM and Physical Medicine are distinct fields, there are overlapping concepts that students should be aware of for the USMLE. These include:

  • Musculoskeletal Assessment: Both OMM and Physical Medicine involve detailed musculoskeletal assessments, including range of motion testing, strength testing, and evaluation of functional limitations.
  • Non-pharmacological Interventions: Both approaches emphasize non-pharmacological interventions for pain management and rehabilitation, such as physical modalities and therapeutic exercise.
  • Patient Education: OMM and Physical Medicine practitioners educate patients about self-care, lifestyle modifications, and injury prevention to empower them in their healing process.


Understanding the principles and techniques of Medical Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) and Physical Medicine is essential for the USMLE. This guide provides a concise overview of these topics, highlighting their unique aspects and overlapping concepts. Remember to review additional resources and practice questions to solidify your knowledge and prepare for the exam effectively. Good luck!

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