Somatic dysfunction refers to an impaired or altered function of related components of the musculoskeletal system, including muscles, joints, and connective tissues. It is a term commonly used in Osteopathic medicine to describe altered findings in the body that can contribute to pain, reduced range of motion and various other symptoms.
In Osteopathy, somatic dysfunction is believed to disrupt the body’s natural self-regulatory and self-healing mechanisms. It can be caused by factors such as trauma, poor posture, repetitive strain, injury, post surgery, due to an accident or any underlying medical conditions. This dysfunction will provoke discomfort and pain within the body and Osteopathic treatment can help to restore function, balance and movement within the body.
Somatic dysfunction involves a thorough physical examination, including observation, palpation, and motion testing. Osteopaths use their hands to assess the tissues, identify areas of tension, restriction, or asymmetry, and apply specific manual techniques to address the dysfunction.
The treatment for somatic dysfunction aims to restore normal function and promote the body’s self-healing abilities. Manual techniques such as osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) or other hands-on therapies, are commonly employed. These techniques include stretching, soft tissue manipulation, mobilization or manipulation of joints, and other approaches tailored to the individual’s needs.