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Osteopathic Medicine
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The DO Difference:
Definition:
 
Osteopathic medicine is a "complete system of medical care with a philosophy that combines the needs of the patient with the current practice of medicine, surgery and obstetrics; that emphasizes the interrelationship between structure and function; and that has an appreciation of the body's ability to heal itself."

Osteopathic physicians (DOs) are similar to allopathic physicians (MDs) in that they are both fully qualified physicians licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery. 

Similarities:
  • Both DOs and MDs typically have a 4 year undergraduate degree and 4 years of basic medical education.
  • DOs and MDs continue after medical school with graduate medical education through an internship or residency lasting from 3 to 6 years, preparing them to practice a specialty based on their training.
  • Specialties for both DOs and MDs can include areas of pediatrics, family practice, psychiatry, surgery, obstetrics, or other specialties.
  • DOs and MDs must pass comparable examinations to obtain state licenses.
  • DOs and MDs practice in fully accredited and licensed health care facilities.
Differences:
  • DOs 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) incorporates a hands-on approach to diagnose illness and injury and encourages the body’s natural tendency toward good health. These techniques are an integral part to the approach of “whole person” medicine.
  • By combining all other available medical options with OMT, DOs offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today. DOs treat people, not just symptoms. 

 

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