What does a DO do?
The next time you visit a hospital or doctors office, try to spot the physician's credentials. Are they MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine)? While there are similarities between two types of doctors, there are also differences.
Both DOs and MDs are fully qualified physicians licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery. Is there any difference between these two kinds of physicians? Yes. And no.
DOs and MDs complete four years of basic medical education. DOs receive their medical degrees from one of 20 colleges of osteopathic medicine throughout the United States. Osteopathic medical schools emphasize on training students to be primary care physicians first. Consequently, upon graduation osteopathic physicians serve a year-long rotating internship in the primary care areas. After the completion of the internship, they may choose to specialize in any area of medicine, requiring an additional two to six years of training.
DOs also receive additional training in the musculoskeletal system-the body's interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones that make up two-thirds of it's body mass. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the ways that an injury or illness in one part of the body can affect another. This education also promotes the "whole person" approach to medicine that osteopathic physicians practice. Approximately 65% of practicing osteopathic physicians specialize in primary care areas, such as pediatrics, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, and internal medicine.
As an osteopathic physicians, we treat the person, not the symptoms.
DO's regard the body as an integrated whole, not a sum of parts. Even more the "whole person" philosophy will often lead an osteopathic physician to investigate the patient's environments to distinguish if any outside elements are contributing to an ailment.
When I examine a patient, I may spend several minutes speaking with him or her about their work or home environment before even begining the physical examination. These are things that are often overlooked by the patient but usually play a significant role in their general health.
DOs use an additional treatment tool called Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT). OMT is incorporated in the training and practice of osteopathic physician. With OMT DOs use their hands to help diagnose and treat injury and illness and to encourage the body's natural tendency toward good health.
While many people consider OMT a toll for back pain, it can be used to help just about any ailment. From migraines to prenatal care, or even simply examining a patient for general health - OMT has many helpful effects.
By combining all available medical procedures with OMT, DOs' offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.
Currently there are more than 56,000 DOs nationwide. While they continue to be on the cutting edge of modern medicine, DOs are able to combine today's medical technology with their ears, to listen caringly to their patients; theirs eyes, to see their patients as whole persons: and their hands , to diagnose and treat injury as well as illness. For more information abut DOs and osteopathic medicine, visit www.osteopthic.org
Osteopathic medicine is a unique form of American medical care that was started in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO Dr. Still was dissatisfied with the effectiveness of 19th century medicine. He believed that many of the medications of his day were useless or even harmful. Dr. Still was one of the first in his time to study the attributes of good health so that he could better understand the process of disease.
I think it is important to educate patients about osteopathic medicine and be aware of all the health care options available. If you have any questions or concerns we would be happy to help.