What is Osteopathic Medicine?

I would like to introduce my guest blogger Daisy Trimor, she is currently completing her DO education and her internship with our practice. Enjoy!

Dana Neacsu, MD

What is Osteopathic Medicine?

To most people, the two initials listed after a doctor’s name remains limited to MD – the most universally recognized medical degree. If you’re a keen observer during your doctor’s appointment, you’ll notice not all medical doctors carry these initials. An increasing number of general practitioners have DO degrees – doctor of osteopathic medicine. What is osteopathic medicine and how do DO doctors differ from their MD counterparts?

Osteopathic medicine is a distinct branch of medicine that operates on the core principle of the body as a unit capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance. DO doctors are trained in a very holistic model of care taking into account the interplay of the patient’s body, mind, and spirit. This holistic reputation sometimes misleads people into thinking DO doctors are not real doctors.

This is far from the truth.

Osteopathic medical schools require the same entrance exams and science courses that an MD medical school require. During medical school, DO students are taught the same basic foundations of medicine such as anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. But unlike MD students, DO students spend an additional 200 plus hours on learning the intricate interrelationship of bones, muscles, joints, and the fascia.

Osteopathic medical schools believe in the importance of the musculoskeletal system in integrating and coordinating the activity of basic body functions such as posture and motion, circulation of body fluids, and neurologic balance. Using this philosophy, DO doctors are trained to practice OMT – osteopathic manipulative treatment – a set of hands-on techniques that allow DO doctors to detect and manage somatic dysfunction. DO doctors uses OMT to facilitate healing by removing any somatic dysfunction that may interfere with the body’s innate capability to heal and restore physiologic homeostasis.

After medical school graduation, DO doctors are qualified to take the same board exam certifications that an MD graduate can take. DO doctors can also train alongside MD doctors in residency programs in any fields of medicine across all 50 states of America.

Although osteopathic medical schools encourage its students to pursue a career in primary care serving the rural and underserved population, DO doctors can follow any specialty they desire from pediatrics to psychiatry to surgery. They are fully licensed physicians certified to prescribe you medications and provide you the medical advice you need.

Whether a medical doctor’s name follows an MD or DO initials, what makes a great medical doctor is not determined by their medical degree. When it comes to primary care, choose a medical doctor that takes a patient-centered approach to wellness and prevention – one that takes into consideration your lifestyle, nutrition, environment, and body systems as a whole.

To your health,

Daisy Jane Trimor

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