What is an Osteopathic Physician?

What is an Osteopathic Physician?

If you’re like most people, you’ve been going to a doctor since you were born and perhaps didn’t know if you were seeing a D.O. (osteopathic physician) or an M.D. (allopathic physician). You may not even be aware that there are two types of physicians in the United States.

The fact is, both D.O.s and M.D.s are fully qualified physicians licensed to perform surgery and practice medicine. Is there any difference between these two kinds of doctors? Yes. And no.

D.O.s Bring Something Extra To Medicine

  • D.O.s practice a “whole person” approach to medicine. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, they regard your body as 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 its body mass. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the ways that an injury or illness in one part of your body can affect another
  • Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is incorporated in the training and practice of osteopathic physicians. With OMT, osteopathic physicians use their hands to diagnose injury and illness and to encourage your body’s natural tendency toward good health. By combining standard medical practices with OMT, D.O.s offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, or OMT, is hands-on care. It involves using the hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury. Using OMT, your osteopathic physician (D.O.) will move your muscles and joints using techniques including stretching, gentle pressure and resistance, muscle contractions, and joint movements.

Who Can Benefit From OMT?

OMT can help people of all ages and backgrounds. It can:

  • Ease pain
  • Promote healing
  • Increase mobility

OMT is often used to treat muscle and joint pain. But it can also help patients with a number of other health problems, including:

  • Asthma and COPD
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Menstrual pain
  • Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Syndromes
  • and many more

When appropriate, OMT can complement–and even replace–drugs or surgery. In this way, OMT brings an important dimension to standard medical care.

To learn more about Osteopathic Medicine, please visit the following sites:

American Osteopathic Association
American Academy of Osteopathy

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