Layne Morrill didn’t expect a visit from her step mother-in-law to be what started her journey with Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy. “My husband’s step mom is a massage therapist in Florida,” says Morrill. “She and my father-in-law came to visit and she gave me a massage. It was wonderful, but after that, she (nicely) nagged me every day that I needed some additional work done on my tense and off-kilter body.”
With some apprehension about going to a chiropractor, Morrill decided to try Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy, or OMT. OMT is a technique used by specially trained physicians to move muscles and joints by stretching, using resistance and applying pressure to the body. The technique is used to treat a variety of illnesses or injuries.
“OMT can be an effective option for patients with migraines, asthma, carpal tunnel, or sinus issues,” explains Michelle Shafer, DO, a family medicine provider at UnityPoint Clinic in Dubuque and OMT practitioner. “Back pain, joint or neck pain, or headaches especially, respond very well to these treatments.”
Luckily, Morrill wasn’t experiencing any significant pain, however with a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis, she’s very particular about managing her body. “I was diagnosed with RA when I was 16 years old. I’ve been in remission for the past 4 years. But I know if my body gets off-kilter, I experience a flare-up,” Morrill explains.
Her flare-ups typically are targeted in her shoulders and knees, with swelling in her hands, which is why she looks to non-weight bearing activities, such as bike riding to keep healthy. “I stay as active as I can. I was planning to ride RAGBRAI, but knew I needed to get my body a tune-up before the big event.” That’s when Morrill made her first appointment with Dr. Shafer.
“I was skeptical at first, but with some pressure from my step mother-in-law, I knew I needed to take some action,” says Morrill. “My first appointment started with Dr. Shafer loosening my body with some massaging and after 3 appointments, I was ready for my RAGBRAI trip.”
After 107 miles on her adventure from Jefferson, to Ames and finishing in Baxter, Iowa Morrill is glad she decided to give OMT a try. Morrill appreciates a more natural approach to keeping her body aligned. With one post-RAGBRAI OMT appointment scheduled, Morrill decided she will continue with OMT as part of a maintenance program to keep her health in check. “Plus, the massage is great and Dr. Shafer is one of the best. She knows her patients well and knows the tricks to provide the best relief,” Morrill adds.