ST. LOUIS – Dr. Hilary McParlane of SSM Health Medical Group practices osteopathic medicine to help her patients heal from injuries or treat symptoms of disease.
She’s often asked if she is a real doctor. The answer is yes! A doctor of osteopathic medicine is a fully-trained and licensed doctor who has attended and graduated from a US osteopathic medical school. The main difference between osteopathic and allopathic doctors is that some osteopathic doctors, like Dr. McParlane, provide manual medicine therapies, such as spinal manipulation or massage therapy, as part of their treatment.
Osteopathic medicine provides all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate an injury. It also offers the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of treatment known as osteopathic manipulative medicine.
Osteopathic medicine emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health promotion and disease prevention.
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and Dr. McParlane says she trained to look at the whole person, which means she sees each person as more than just a collection of organ systems and body parts that may become injured or diseased.
This holistic approach to patient care means that osteopathic doctors learn how to integrate the patient into the health care process as a partner. They are trained to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds, and they get the opportunity to practice these skills in their classrooms and learning laboratories, frequently with standardized and simulated patients.
For example, Dr. McParlane says she does not just focus on the physical disease, we focus on other components that make up a person.
“Patients who are looking for a more holistic approach,” she said. “Environmental factors, social factors, mental health and try to incorporate everything to treat the whole patient.”
It’s meant to treat but also prevent disease. She uses a biopsychosocial model to treat injury or disease.
“A patient with chronic neck pain and daily headaches. I realized some of the neck pain wasn’t just musculoskeletal, it was being caused by her sinuses,” McParlane said. “Sinuses can cause neck stiffness and headaches. I was able to do a lymphatic technique to reduce inflammation and drain the sinuses. I was able to relieve her headaches.”
McParlane’s goal is to treat the underlying condition. She says she believes in traditional medicine and can prescribe it when necessary, but looks to find the root cause of the pain or physical treatment to help relieve symptoms.
To learn more about Dr. McParlane, click here.
The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.