Doctors in Fairbanks use manipulative therapy to let the body heal itself

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” is an adage that many have probably grown up with. It refers to the unspoken understanding that medicine is unpalatable but necessary for healing.

Doctors of osteopathic medicine give the body a chance to treat itself.

However, for osteopathic physician Dr. Todd Capistrant, the body should be allowed a chance to heal itself before resorting to other means.

At the Tanana Valley Clinic, Dr. Capistrant has just returned from St. Louis, where he instructed the medical professionals for the St. Louis Cardinals how to treat the team without necessarily resorting to medications like anti-inflammatories.

Although doctors of osteopathic medicine (DO) can go into any medical specialty, Dr. Capistrant focuses primarily on osteopathic musculoskeletal manipulation. He uses these treatments to relieve his patients of their pain.

Dr. Capistrant also mentions that osteopathic manipulation is a low-risk treatment that should be attempted if possible. Regarding musculoskeletal manipulation, Dr. Capistrant says, “If it’s a pain related complaint, there’s almost no reason not to give it a try.”

This is particularly true in wake of the current opioid epidemic, “especially in this era when we’re trying to avoid all the narcotics, and there’s a huge crisis with that,” said Dr. Capistrant. “So [for] many of the patients, that was our only tool to control pain. Now we’re seeing [that] acupuncture, and massage, and manipulative therapies are helpful,” he added.

Specifically, Dr. Capistrant is a proponent of the fascial distortion model (FDM). This model holds that the fascia, or “shiny” tissue of the body, is where a lot of the pain in the body is found. All of the osteopathic medicine providers at the Tanana Valley Clinic operate within the FPM paradigm.

According to 2017 findings by the Association of American Medical Colleges, 12.5% of residents and fellows in Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited programs were DOs.

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