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What is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine?


If you’re like most people, you’ve been going to a doctor ever since you were born, and perhaps were not aware whether you were seeing a D.O. (Osteopathic Physician) or an M.D. (Allopathic Physician). You may not even be aware that there are these two types of complete physicians in the United States. The fact is both D.O.s and M.D.s are complete physicians. Both go to a four year medical school, then choose to practice in a specialized area of medicine completing a residency program. Following their residency program, both have to pass a state licensing examination. They are both licensed to perform surgery and prescribe medication in all 50 states.

Osteopathic philosophy emphasizes how all the body’s systems are interconnected and how each one affects the others. It focuses special attention on the musculoskeletal system, which reflects and influences the condition of all other body systems. The body’s structure plays a critical role in its ability to function. A disturbance in one system may impact function elsewhere in the body. This understanding of body structure and function provides the foundation for the osteopathic approach to medicine. By taking the whole person approach to care, D.O.s don’t just focus on the disease or injury. They look for the underlying causes of disease instead of simply treating the symptoms. Not only do they consider your physical condition, but they also take other factors into account like home, work and family life when making a diagnosis.
Osteopathic education provides the learning of a hands-on treatment tool known as osteopathic manipulative treatment, or OMT. Using OMT, D.O.s can bring another form of a non-invasive treatment to healthcare. Osteopathic students learn a variety of OMT techniques by applying specific corrective forces to relieve joint restrictions and misalignments. While OMT is commonly associated with physical ailments such as low back pain, this modality can also be used to relieve the discomfort or musculoskeletal abnormality associated with a number of disorders, including: asthma, sinus disorder, carpal tunnel, migraines and menstrual pain.

The osteopathic approach to treating many diseases includes medication and/or surgical intervention, plus OMT. OMT can relieve muscle pain associated with a disease and can hasten your recovery from illness. More than half of osteopathic physicians practice as Family Physicians, many in rural areas.

-written by Dr. Bruce E. Maniet




© All Rights Reserved, 2014. Dr. Bruce E. Maniet