MSU OMM clinic continues to serve, expand 40 years later


MSU Health Care Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine comes from humble beginnings, but has grown to accommodate a hefty caseload. What started during the 1980s in the basement of Lansing General Hospital’s professional building eventually expanded to the third floor of the hospital. It later moved to MSU’s Clinical Center before settling at its current location at 4660 S. Hagadorn Road, Suite 500.

“The numbers are daunting,” said Reddog Sina, D.O., assistant professor of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine at the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, who is board-certified in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (NMM/OMM), and sees patients daily at MSU Health Care OMM. These are busy days at the clinic. In 2023 alone, the clinic had 33,550 appointments. Patients range from newborns to centenarians seeking non-surgical treatment for a wide range of arthrodial and neuromuscular conditions including feeding issues, torticollis, neck pain, back pain, joint and muscle pain, headaches and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (commonly referred to as TMJ).

Through it all, MSU Health Care OMM has stayed true to its mission “to maintain a model of osteopathic medical practice, provide leadership in the transformation and promotion of osteopathic principles, and contribute to osteopathic philosophy’s biological, behavioral and clinical science foundation.”

Medical Practice

After being referred by their primary care providers, patients with wide-ranging conditions seek treatment at MSU Health Care OMM. “Our patients are already under the care of a primary care provider, and we are consulted for our expertise in neuromusculoskeletal medicine,” said J’Aimee Lippert, D.O., who is one of the clinic’s physicians, as well as the interim chair and an associate professor for the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine. “We emphasize to patients that maintaining good contact with their primary care provider is important – we value that relationship! When a patient is referred to OMM, it is because of our expertise in the optimal function of the neuromusculoskeletal system.”

Once referred, patients at MSU Health Care OMM receive care that considers more than their signs and symptoms. “Learning OMM teaches trainees to palpate (examine through touch), and osteopathic physicians are the doctors that palpate. Touch is incredibly sensitive, and can be trained to differentiate very different tissue conditions that aren’t obvious by only using observation,” Dr. Sina explained. “We learn to look at our patients through the physical, spiritual and mental approaches to their lives. Our practice helps to integrate those things.”

Educational Outreach

At MSU Health Care OMM, outreach comes in the form of medical education. In addition to undergraduate and D.O. students from MSU, the clinic hosts high school students, visiting undergraduate and medical students and visiting residents. These opportunities demonstrate how osteopathic manipulative medicine works in real patient care. Dr. Lippert noted this experience is especially valuable for students.

“Students practice all the skills using palpation and osteopathic manipulative treatment in class, but when you’re treating classmates who may not have a significant issue going on, you don’t get to understand the richnesmsucom-omm-lippert.pngs and impact that osteopathic manipulative treatment can have,” Dr. Lippert explained. “It would be a similar scenario if a medical student only ever listened to a healthy heart, but never had heard a heart murmur.

“Those students who come to shadow us or do rotations in the clinic really get to see the power – the clinical impact of using our hands. They also have critical opportunities to apply their knowledge in clinical environments during primary care preclerkship courses, throughout clerkship rotations and during extracurricular and cocurricular experiences, such as Student OMM Clinic, Street Medicine and Sports OMT.”

Clinical Research

Doctors at MSU Health Care OMM often publish case studies that contribute to broader research efforts. In a recently published study, for example, Dr. Sina detailed how, in one adult patient experiencing sudden-onset hearing loss from no discernible cause, he used manipulative medicine to open up the patient’s eustachian tube, which connects the ear to the nasopharynx.

In addition to clinical studies, MSU Health Care OMM also produces original projects and quality improvement studies. Of special note is MSU’s Center for Neuromusculoskeletal Clinical Research (CNCR). This lab houses a special treadmill equipped with motion-capture technology to conduct gait research, as well as equipment for concussion research. The CNCR assists researchers in evaluating skeletal motion gait in individuals, which can then be compared to larger populations, such as people with chronic back pain. The lab’s state-of-the-art equipment also makes it a strong candidate for facilitating research partnerships.

Looking Ahead

MSU Health Care OMM is reputed to be the largest OMM clinic in the world. While it carries an impressive caseload, the clinic’s size also measures the fact that the osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal specialty – the doctors who focus on OMM – is among the smallest osteopathic specialties.

“We have the biggest clinic in the country, but as a specialty across the nation, we’re very small,” Dr. Lippert explained. “For many patients, this is all quite novel, and understanding how their body functions can be a new concept.”

Dr. Lippert explained that during an appointment, osteopathic doctors evaluate how a patient’s body moves, identify areas that are moving well and those that are not and connect that information to the patient’s work, hobbies and past experiences. Osteopathic physicians can then use osteopathic manipulative treatment to address areas of concern.

“The very idea that we can use our hands to improve function and mobility, which can help them breathe, circulate, think and perform better, is often a revelation,” said Dr. Lippert. “This message needs to be widely shared. We have a very real opportunity to share what osteopathic medicine contributes to the health of all communities, and we take that obligation and responsibility very seriously.”

The osteopathic medical field is growing. According to the American Osteopathic Association, nearly 149,000 osteopathic physicians were in practice in 2023, which measured a 30 percent increase since 2018. Today, more than 11 percent of physicians are osteopathic doctors, and 25 percent of all medical students in the U.S. study osteopathic medicine.

Open for enrollment: MSU’s current osteopathic manipulative medicine/treatment (OMM/OMT) clinical studies

  • “OMT as Treatment for Intractable Singultus” (Principal investigator: Dr. J’aimee Lippert) – A unique pilot study driven by a group of students from the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine and Dr. Lippert that looks at the effect of a single OMT on patients with chronic hiccups.
  • “Treatment of C-Section Scar with Myofascial Release in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain” (Principal investigator: Dr. Travis Gordon) – A pilot study spearheaded by MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine students and OMM faculty aiming to understand if women whose low back pain originated at any time after C-Section surgery would benefit from receiving a targeted OMT on their scar. The study will look at the impact on the low back pain, scar mobility and range of motion in the low back.
  • “Using Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping to Understand the Perspective of Patients with Low Back Pain” (Principal investigator: Dr. John Popovich) – Low back pain (LBP) is a multifaceted problem with many variables, including biomechanical causes, psychosocial factors and physiologic reasons. This concept is widely accepted among various LBP experts, but patients with LBP may not think of their condition in the same way. The purpose of this research is to understand how patients with LBP think about their condition and how their opinion changes after they receive OMT.  
  • “Building a Collaborative Model of Low Back Pain from Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Physicians” (Principal investigator: Dr. John Popovich) – Low back pain (LBP) is the leading contributor to the global burden of disease. Considering the bio-psycho-social nature of LBP, patients receive treatment from numerous practitioners whose approach to treatment may vary by discipline. The purpose of this project is to investigate how OMM physicians think about LBP using fuzzy cognitive models.
  • “The Role of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine in Recovery from Concussions” (Principal investigator: Dr. Jacek Cholewicki) – This project aims to study whether adding OMT to usual care of concussion patients will enhance their recovery. Participants will be randomly assigned to 1) Usual care, or 2) Usual care plus OMT.


By E. LaClear