Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, are fully trained and licensed physicians who practice in all areas of medicine. They focus on a whole-person approach to treatment and care - how a patient's lifestyle and environment can impact their well-being. DOs strive for health in a patient's mind, body and spirit, rather than just alleviating symptoms.
Listening to the patient and partnering in his or her care are at the heart of a DO's holistic, empathic approach to medicine. They practice according to the latest science and use the latest technology, but they also consider options to complement pharmaceuticals and surgery.
There are more than 100,000 DOs in the US, practicing their distinct philosophy in every medical specialty. They have additional training in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment and use this to help diagnose, treat and prevent illness and injury.
The difference between a D.O. and an M.D.
A DO is a fully trained and licensed doctor who has attended and graduated from a U.S. osteopathic medical school. An M.D. - or doctor of medicine - has attended and graduated from a conventional (allopathic) medical school.
After medical school, both M.D.s and D.O.s must complete residency training in their chosen specialties, as well as pass the same licensing examination before they can treat people and prescribe medications.
The major difference between osteopathic and allopathic doctors is that some osteopathic doctors provide manual medicine therapies, such as spinal manipulation or massage therapy, as part of their treatment.