NORTH CONWAY, NH – Back pain is one of top ten reasons for medical visits. For many of those patients, the back pain becomes chronic. It’s also one of the leading causes for days missed at work. The cause of back pain ranges from injury to arthritis, but when it strikes, patients only have one thing in mind … how to make it better as quickly as possible. With so many impacted by back pain and other musculoskeletal pain, Dr. Warren Chin, D.O. recently decided to focus his medical practice full time to treating patients with a time-honored approach to pain care, Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy (O.M.T.).
This recent change in Chin’s practice is one he feels is timely and needed. “I have chosen to concentrate my time in providing osteopathic diagnosis and treatment. I am able to provide same day or next day care for my patients, for patients referred to me by consult and for the general public. The goal of such treatments is to decrease or eliminate the use of opioid analgesics.”
According to the American Osteopathic Association, OMT is hands-on care. It involves using the hands to diagnose, treat, and minimize illness or injury. Using OMT, an osteopathic physician will move muscles and joints using techniques including stretching, gentle pressure and manipulation.
Dr. Chin states it’s a highly effective and very gentle technique with a high rate of success in relieving pain for a variety of causes. “A large segment of the public is unaware of what an osteopathic physician is. We go through a board certification and credentialing process. What is different is that in our training we are subjected to additional training, the equivalent of 4-8 hours additional training in osteopathic diagnosis and treatment per week. We are indeed specialists of back and joint pains, and we offer often very efficient and safe means to alleviate that pain. As a family practitioner, we have to know a lot about every field, and with the addition of osteopathic training, osteopathic physicians that use O.M.T. are indeed the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of physicians!”
Osteopathic physicians are medical doctors with full medical training, including the ability to prescribe drugs. But Chin emphasized that his practice is very much around avoiding the use of narcotics to ease pain, other than muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications which work in concert with OMT sessions. He also does joint injections using Novocain and cortisone.
Dr. Chin shared that he has seen patients who were dependent on opiate pain medication become pain free. “They tell me I gave them their life back,” he stated. “In this time of our present drug crisis, with the overuse of opioid pain killers, we need to educate people that there are other ways to diagnose and potentially treat the causes of pain. Osteopathic physicians are trained with additional skills to diagnose and treat other aspects of pain that may be overlooked by other fields.”
Dr. Chin has been a D.O. for 33 years. A D.O. is a doctor of osteopathic medicine, a doctor licensed to practice in the U.S. who has similar education and certification as an M.D., but with differences in their training and philosophy of patient care. D.O.’s understand alternative forms of medicine. Both M.D.s and D.O.s are required to complete accredited medical residencies. In Dr. Chin’s case, he undertook 12 years of training to become a D.O., including an extra 4 years of specialized OMT training, something he considers his specialty. “I am a true osteopath, and an innovator in the field.
The success rate for OMT has been reported as less than 50%. I wanted to do better than that,” Dr. Chin shared.
Over these 33 years, Dr. Chin has developed his own innovative and effective techniques, building on traditional OMT methods. “I do it by feel. When you just rely on MRIs and X-rays, a lot can be missed. You need palpatory skills, otherwise it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack!” Chin is so highly regarded in his field that OMT students from across the country train with him to learn his unique approach.
Dr. Chin treats more than back pain. Neck pain, migraines, and any joint pain can be treated with OMT. Even chest pain (after a negative cardiology work up) can be treated. He states that he treats all ages. Recently he saw two young siblings who had frequent headaches impacting their ability to go to school. He was able to get them headache free and back to class quickly.
Getting back to work is often the goal of patients who see Dr. Chin, often after missing days or weeks off the job. Brittney Chaput, age 24, of Conway, NH is a busy manager at a local coffee shop who could not afford to be out of work or not there for her husband and three children. After losing 4 days of work due to lower back pain, she heard about Dr. Chin and made an appointment. Chaput shared, “I thought I had pulled a muscle in my back and had missed 4 days of work. Warren told me I had hurt my tailbone and lower back. He manipulated it and I was able to walk out the door without the cane I came in with. He was gentle and thorough. After just two sessions I was walking straight again. He also showed me how to do stretches which helped a lot. Thanks to him I was able to get back to work.”
Chin agreed, saying, “I have seen people walk out of my office after entering with crutches and walkers. It’s not uncommon to see results in one treatment.”
Dr. Chin is part of the Mount Washington Valley Rural Health Center Primary Care office at Memorial Hospital. He is often able to see patients the same day or next day. For more information, call 603-356-5472 or go online to www.memorialhospitalnh.org/primarycare.
About Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health & wellness programs, imaging services, cardiopulmonary care, family birthing center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services. Practices include primary care and family medicine, and the Miranda Center for Diabetes, behavioral health services, women's health, and orthopedics. The Merriman House, a 45-bed nursing home specializing in Alzheimer's and other memory disorders, is also located on the hospital campus.