What is an OMPT, and Why is It Important to Seek One?

What is Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy?

 Orthopedic manual physical therapy (OMPT) is any “hands-on” evidence based treatment that may include moving joints in specific directions and at different speeds to regain movement, muscle stretching, passive movements of the affected body part, or having the patient move the body part against the therapist’s resistance to improve muscle activation and timing. Selected specific soft tissue techniques may also be used to improve the mobility and function of tissue and muscles.

What is an Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapist?

Orthopedic manual physical therapy certification is a post-graduate/advanced certificate program for physical therapists designed to develop specialized manual therapy skills.  OMPT training involves a minimum of two years of postgraduate education and over 2000 hours of clinical residency training and theory.  Residency programs in physical therapy are based on the same educational model that has long been used in the education of medical doctors.  The OMPT professional designation means that the therapist has expertise and knowledge in medical screening, anatomy, physiology, joint and soft tissue mechanics and is an expert in the musculoskeletal system.

What’s the Importance of Seeking Out an OMPT?

By selecting an OMPT trained physical therapist, a patient will receive care that is extremely effective and efficient.  This is particularly important if the patient has limited financial resources, has limited visits covered by health insurance, is seeking conservative treatment that may preclude the need for surgery, or in cases where surgery is required, treatment to recover and improve their outcomes.

Early, consistent and skillfully manual physical therapy, combined with exercise and patient education, is central to the OMPT therapist’s practice.  Advanced examination, communication and decision making skills that are built on the foundations of professional and scientific education facilitate the provision of effective and efficient care. OMPT practitioners provide patient management, consult with other care providers on neuromusculoskeletal conditions ranging from simple to complex, and provide recommendations and interventions in the area of health and wellness.

Also, when someone suffers from a neuromusculoskeletal disorder, an exercise and movement re-education program may be sufficient to restore full pain-free movement, function, and return to full activity.  However, in some cases, soft-tissue and joint restrictions are present, resulting in these same interventions being painful or, worse, aggravating to the condition.  In these instances, an OMPT therapist can provide hands-on techniques to improve mobility, reduce pain, and restore normal function of soft tissues and joints.


Luci Harris, PT, DPT, OMPT


Luci Harris, PT, DPT, OMPT is a certified orthopedic manual therapist and has her doctoral degree in physical therapy.  Luci practices out of our Clarkston location and has several other continuing education courses under her belt.  If you would like to talk to Luci or schedule a free consultation, please feel free to give her a call at (248) 620-4260.    

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