(201) Health 2022 Edition - Page 18


The osteopath



Though there are three times as many medical doctors in the U . S . as there are osteopaths — physicians trained to treat the body as awhole , often with physical manipulation — there are almost as many doctors of osteopathy beginning their family medicine residencies in 2022 as there are medical doctors .

Dr . Rachelle Schwarz understands the appeal . She is an osteopath who graduated from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in2013 and completed her residency at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip , New York , three years later .“ DOs focus on taking all the different systems and bringing them together to take care of aperson as awhole ,” she says .“ The big focus in osteopathy school is on primary care and the family practice .”
Schwarz says that she frequently hears from patients frustrated with specialists who , when it comes to diagnosing their ailments , can ’ t see the forest for the trees .“ Yesterday , aguy said ,‘ Itold three doctors this story , and no one could say what ’ s wrong with meinstead oflooking at the bigger picture .’” In her treatment , this might involve osteopathic manipulation to realign the spine . “ People have back pain , and Ican make them better ,” she says .“ It ’ spart of our osteopathic training .”
Though osteopaths focus on improving the body ’ s overall healing system and chiropractors mostly work
on spinal adjustments , there is some overlap in what they do , says Schwarz .“ I do soft tissue and muscle work to release tension ,” she says . This often helps patients with lower back pain who have difficulty lying down at night .
Schwarz recalls the first year she was in practice and attended a lecture on back pain at a medical conference . “ No one ever said you should touch a person ’ s back to feel alignment and tension ,” she recalls . “ They just said ‘ If you don ’ t do anything , it will take six weeks to get better , so try ice , or you could use some pharmaceutically-based treatments like anti-inflammatories .’ At no time did they try to figure out what ’ s going on , or even
advise the doctors to touch someone and say ‘ Does it hurt here ?’”
In addition to alleviating physical aches and pains , Schwarz provides preventive diagnostic care to ward off maladies including hypertension , high cholesterol and cervical cancer . As is common for family physicians in the Northeast , she sees patients ages 16 and older .
“ I like knowing a little bit about everything , getting to know people throughout their lives ,” she says . “ There ’ s one family I see with both grandparents in their 90s , their kids in their 60s and a granddaughter in her 30s who brought her own daughters in and said ‘ This will be your doctor when you grow up .’” ❖
14 2022 EDITION ( 201 ) HEALTH