Osteopathic manipulation is a hands on treatment to address Somatic Dysfunction performed by an Osteopathic Physician.
Somatic dysfunction is defined as the impaired or altered function of related components of the somatic (body) system including: the skeletal, arthrodial, and myofascial structures, and their related vascular, lymphatic, and neural elements.
There are as many different styles of Osteopathic manipulation as there are styles of martial arts or guitar styles. You may have three world class guitarists but one is classical, one is country, and one is rock-n-roll. All very different yet still the best at their respective style.
The most readily recognizable style of manipulation that people are familiar with is the “cracking” of the back and other joints which is called HVLA (high velocity low amplitude) manipulation. In skilled hands this should not be painful and does not injure the joint. Quite the opposite. It can restore normal function and decrease degeneration and of course decrease or resolve pain. Sometimes a joint really needs to be “cracked” but you can however perform an effective full body treatment without “cracking” a single joint.