What is a DO


While Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.s) and Medical Doctors (M.D.s) in the United States are alike in many ways, D.O.s bring something extra to medicine.

Osteopathic medical schools emphasize training students to be primary care physicians. They also receive additional training in the musculoskeletal system for a better understanding of how an injury or illness in one part of the body can affect other body parts and systems. Plus, both predoctoral and postdoctoral training programs include osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). This additional specialized training provides D.O.s with a therapeutic and diagnostic advantage.

Osteopathic physicians perform surgery, deliver babies and prescribe medicine in hospitals and clinics across the nation. Whether they’re family doctors or specialists, osteopathic physicians use all the tools of modern medicine and more.

They help their patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don’t just fight illness, but prevent it. They give special attention to how the body’s nerves, muscles, bones and organs work together to influence health. And through OMT, they can use their hands to diagnose injury and illness-and encourage the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Those D.O.s who belong to the American Academy of Osteopathy are especially devoted to practicing osteopathic medicine according to the philosophy and principles established by Andrew Taylor Still, M.D., the founder of osteopathic medicine. Dissatisfaction with nineteenth century medicine led Dr. Still to form a new system of health care based on ideas dating back to Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. His philosophy emphasized the unity of all body parts, the importance of the musculoskeletal system in maintaining health, and the body’s innate abilities that, if given the opportunity, will establish balance and recreate health.

By combining OMT with other modern medical procedures and technology available to physicians, osteopathic physicians offer their patients a comprehensive total approach to health care.