Osteopathic medicine is a distinct branch of medicine that considers a “whole person” approach to medicine — treating the entire person rather than just the symptoms. With a focus on preventive health care, doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don’t just fight illness, but also help prevent it.
DOs are fully licensed physicians who practice in all areas of medicine. What makes them unique is the additional training they receive in medical school, called osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). Dr. Patricio Guaiquil practices osteopathic medicine at SharpCare Medical Group’s Spring Valley location, and has expanded his patient care services with his recent board certification in OMT.
Born in Chile and raised in the New York area, Dr. Guaiquil began his 8-year path to medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City. He completed his internship and residency in New York and a fellowship in New Jersey. San Diego became home 2 years ago for Dr. Guaiquil, his wife, Audrey, and their two sons, when he joined the SharpCare Medical Group.
While all DOs are trained to use OMT as an adjunct to traditional medicine, it is routinely performed by DOs specializing in primary care, such as Dr. Guaiquil, who is also board certified in family medicine. The hands-on approach to diagnosing, treating and preventing illness or injury works with the body’s soft tissue and nervous system.
Dr. Guaiquil pursued an additional fellowship training in OMT to expand the care he provides to patients. “I wanted to delve deeper into how OMT can be used to assist each individual in helping find their new ‘normal,’” he says.
Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathic medicine in the 1800s, was a surgeon, author, inventor and Kansas state legislator. His philosophy was that many health challenges, including but not limited to gastrointestinal illness, asthma, and even depression and anxiety, stem from the nervous system and its health. Considering the patient’s total wellness and the mind-body connection was recognized and accepted as the foundation of osteopathic medicine.
Augmenting this foundation is OMT. In addition to a physical exam, a patient’s first visit includes a review of their medical history, prescription and over-the-counter medications used, and the patient’s functionality and quality of life. Other diagnostic tools, such as imaging tests, can play a significant role in the treatment plan. With this information, Dr. Guaiquil “meets the person where they are in their health journey” and partners with them to achieve their best health by setting goals that may or may not include OMT.
OMT can be used on everyone, including pregnant women and newborns. OMT can help facilitate changes throughout pregnancy, as well as improve common ailments such as low back pain and swelling, Dr. Guaiquil explains. Newborns with a condition known as torticollis — a tightness of neck muscles — can be helped through soft, gentle osteopathic treatment.
“Healing hands” and “listening to the body” are the pillars of Dr. Guaiquil’s practice. “Most of my patients are interested in OMT and the opportunity to have a better quality of life,” he says.
Positive outcomes for his patients include relief from headaches, muscle and nerve pain, and sometimes, the elimination of over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
“San Diegans pursue a healthy quality of life to enjoy the variety of activities the community offers. It’s my privilege to partner with them to achieve their goals of good health,” Dr. Guaiquil says.
To learn more about OMT or to schedule a visit with Dr. Guaiquil, please contact his office.