What is a D.O.


What is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)

D.O.s are fully qualified physicians licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery. They complete four years of basic medical education. After medical school, D.O.s obtain graduate medical education through such programs as internships and residencies. This training typically lasts three to six years and prepares them to practice a specialty. D.O.s can choose to practice in any specialty area of medicine-such as pediatrics, family practice, psychiatry, surgery or obstetrics and must pass examinations to obtain state licenses. D.O.s practice in fully accredited and licensed health care facilities.

So, what is the difference between a D.O. and a M.D.?

The American Osteopathic Association web site states it best;

D.O.s bring something extra to medicine:

  • Osteopathic medical schools emphasize training students to be primary care physicians.
  • D.O.s practice a “whole person” approach to medicine. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, they regard your body as an integrated whole.
  • Osteopathic physicians focus on preventive health care.
  • D.O.s receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system-your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones that make up two-thirds of your body mass. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the ways that an illness or injury in one part of your body can affect another.
  • Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is incorporated into the training and practice of Osteopathic Physicians. With OMT, osteopathic physicians use their hands to diagnose illness and injury and to encourage your body’s natural tendency toward good health. By combining all other available medical options with OMT, D.O.s offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.

For more information about the practice of Osteopathic Medicine please go to the American Osteopthic Association’s web site.