Arizona Physical Therapy: What is an Osteopractor?

Apr 8, 2015

Jim Kester

by Jim Kester
PT, DPT, Cert. SMT, Cert. DN | Clinic Director Sun City Location

Jim Kester is a PT, DPT, Cert. SMT, Cert. DN, and owner from our Sun City facility with 18 years of clinical experience. He is here to explain what an osteopractor is and what they can do for you:
In the competitive market of today’s healthcare providers, patients are more informed. They’re shopping around for a provider who can meet their needs and yield effective results, in a shorter period of time. The days of treating patients with a multitude of passive modalities that produce no significant physiological changes are over. It is becoming more important to master manual therapy techniques, and not only give patients the one-on-one attention they seek, but also to produce greater results in a shorter time period.
As healthcare continues to evolve, physical therapists find themselves in competition with many different providers, all looking to capture the “healthcare dollar.” Physical therapists are competing with chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and personal trainers to capture the patient who wants to live a more active, pain-free lifestyle. While all of these healthcare professionals certainly have a role in patient treatment, physical therapists are more qualified to enhance overall lifestyle through injury rehabilitation, strength training and functional movements than these other providers.
Our scope of practice is broader, extending to many areas including, but not limited to, manual therapy techniques, gait analysis and training, balance training, therapeutic exercise, work conditioning, and ergonomic and postural assessment. In particular, manual therapy techniques encompass a wide variety of hands-on treatment: massage or soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, spinal manipulation, dry needling therapy, and others.
The Diploma in Osteopractic (Dip. Of Osteopractic) is a relatively new credential, trademarked by the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy and Spinal Manipulation Institute. The term osteopractor literally translates to “bone practitioner”, and osteopractors are trained in treating musculoskeletal disorders. The diploma is given only to physical therapists who have completed a rigorous, evidenced-based series of courses including:

  • Certification in Spinal Manipulation or Cert. SMT (series of four courses)
  • Certification in Dry Needling or Cert. DN (series of two courses, fifty-four total hours)
  • Extremity Manipulative Therapy
  • Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)
  • Differential Diagnosis & Multi-Modal Management of Upper and Lower Extremity Spine-Related Pain Syndromes.

Manipulation of the spine and/or extremities, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), and Dry Needling (DN) therapy are proven techniques in facilitating tissue healing, reducing joint dysfunction and minimizing pain. When combined with an effective therapeutic exercise regimen, these treatment interventions are powerful tools in eliminating functional impairments and reducing disability.
An osteopractor is very distinct from, and should not be confused with, a chiropractor or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO), as neither of these are physical therapists. The osteopractor credential distinguishes those physical therapists who have achieved a level of highly skilled, hands-on manual therapy techniques. As mentioned previously, all physical therapists are trained in manual therapy techniques as part of the core curriculum of every physical therapy program.
My goal is to be much better than the average physical therapist, and to be able to provide exceptional, not just good, manual therapy treatment. To date, I will have completed all requirements for the Dip. Of Osteopractic by June 2015. Through the achievement of this important goal, patients can be assured they are receiving care from a highly-skilled healthcare provider who has dedicated his time and resources to administering this new standard of physical therapy treatment.
Currently, at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Sun City, I am utilizing these skills daily on many patients. Dry Needling is an effective tool in reducing musculoskeletal pain and osteoarthritis of the knee. It is especially more effective when combined with low frequency electrical stimulation. Thrust manipulation of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine and lumbopelvic joints is an excellent technique in improving joint range of motion, reducing pain and minimizing joint dysfunction. More recently, I have had success treating shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle stiffness and pain with manipulation techniques of the extremities. Through the use of these advanced techniques, patients are seeing measurable changes earlier in their treatment programs.
If you are struggling with pain, contact Foothills Arizona physical therapy experts to make an appointment today! To learn more about Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Sun City, and what our certified experts can do for you, check out our blog.

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