Katharine Liberatore is the head of Osteopathic practice at LiveWell Health and Wellness in Toronto.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic and often lifelong disorder that can have significant psychological and physical impacts if left unmanaged and treated. GAD is characterized by excessive worry, physical and mental anxiety, as well as several physical symptoms including; restlessness, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension and sleep disturbances.
Prior to the onset of our global pandemic, GAD was already a global health concern with incidents increasing yearly, and significantly in several populations. Now, with stress and worry of Covid-19, according to several scientific, epidemiological, and polling studies, anxiety and depression are both significantly rising across many groups and populations. These studies also suggests that antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication prescriptions are also significantly increasing.
A few years ago, I had the privileged of being a co-thesis advisor (along with Dr. Martin Katzman, MD) in a novel research study involving the effects of Osteopathic Manual Therapy on GAD. The study was a graduating thesis performed by Osteopathic Manual Therapist Lindsay Dixon, D.O.M.P. The study was the first study ever published by a Canadian Osteopathic Manual Practitioner (D.O.M.P.) in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association - a huge accomplishment for Lindsay Dixon and the field of Anxiety disorders - I was proud to be part of it.
The research study involved using osteopathic therapy to treat individuals who were medically diagnosed with mild to moderate GAD. The study leveraged a global (full body) general Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT) treatment approach on individuals suffering with anxiety. This revolutionary scientific study concluded, that after only a few OMT treatments, statistically significant changes in the participants anxiety levels and symptoms resulted. This change is thought to occur through the practices of osteopathic therapy bridging the mind-body connection resulting in positive responses by the body’s nervous system.
In today’s Covid-19 world - anxiety is everywhere - and in almost all of us. Osteopathic Manual Therapy can and does have a significant impact on reducing both physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety disorders, helping those of us afflicted in both reducing and managing the effects of stress induced anxiety.