Local residents seeking a more holistic approach to pain management and their general long-term health can now talk to Dr. TJ Macari, who set up his osteopathy practice at 40 Salem Street in Lynnfield earlier this summer.
Macari grew up in Reading and graduated from St. John's Prep. He currently resides in Acton with his wife and two children, and is a graduate of Bates and of the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Specifically, Macari's area of specialty is osteopathic manipulative medicine, which was developed by a 19th Century doctor after the Civil War with a focus on the musculoskeletal system. Some of an osteopath's work may look similar to that of a chiropractor's, explains Macari, but he says that the differences are actually quite considerable - for example an osteopath's work will also often involve organs as well as bones. "We're using our hands to detect muscles, bones, fluids, tissues," he explained.
An osteopath will use their hands on a patient to check whether the various bones are properly aligned, with one example being that if something is off with the feet, it could manifest in the form of back pain or other issues. Macari explained that many of his patients are those with back, knee and neck pain. Some of his patients are also those with ADD and autism conditions, and Macari has also treated a number of pregnant women with issues like back pain and leg swelling, as well as mothers who have just recently given birth.
"The osteopathic philosophy is, the person is a whole; it's not a bunch of pieces of systems, we're all functioning as one big unit," said Macari in a recent conversation with Lynnfield Patch. "My goal is to get you to a place where your body is functioning optimally."
Another thing he points out is that every patient is different - not only as individuals, but also in some ways between checkups - and this reflects in his work. "My philosophy and my training has taught me to look at every single patient and every single visit, as different," said Macari.
This focus on individual cases also provides the variety that drew Macari to the field of osteopathy in the first place, he explained, recalling how for similar reasons he had also at one time been drawn to emergency medicine.
Another key philosophy of osteopathic medicine focuses on the body's natural abilities to heal itself, and of getting to the actual root of one's health problems. "A lot of what we do seems very subtle, very gentle, moving muscles and bones - not forcefully," said Macari. "We really try to see the patient as a whole. My ultimate goal is preventative medicine."
The proprietor of one of Lynnfield's newest businesses also noted that during their school years, osteopaths take all of the same medical school courses that any physician would take, and that his own experience included a residency in osteopathic medicine at a large hospital in the Bronx. An osteopath can also write prescriptions, but to Macari, this would be more of a last resort.
To mark the beginning of his new practice in Lynnfield, Macari is offering a special without a specific cutoff date - a free initial evaluation for infants under age 3 months. He says that osteopathic treatment can be very helpful with colic as well as latching and sucking problems with breastfeeding and bottles. Another benefit, he adds, would be to catch any potential musculoskeletal issues so early.
Macari also plans to have some information nights soon about osteopathy at his office on the following dates: Thursday, Sept. 13 from 7 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept 18 from 7 to 8 p.m., , and Wednesday Sept. 26 from 12 to 1 p.m.
For more about Dr. Macari and Osteopathy, visit his website here.