You are more than just the sum of your body parts. That’s why doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) practice a “whole person” approach to health care. Instead of just treating your specific symptoms, osteopathic physicians concentrate on treating you as a whole.
Osteopathic physicians understand how all the body’s systems are interconnected and how each one affects the others. They receive special training in the musculoskeletal system so that they better understand how that system influences the condition of all other body systems. In addition, DOs are trained to identify and correct structural problems, which can assist your body's natural tendency toward health and self-healing.
DOs help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don't just fight illness, but also help prevent disease. Millions of Americans prefer this concerned and compassionate care and have made DOs their physicians for life.
To become a DO, an individual must graduate from one of the nation's osteopathic medical schools, accredited by the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. This accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
The curriculum at osteopathic medical schools consists of four years of academic study. Reflecting osteopathic philosophy, the curriculum emphasizes preventive medicine and comprehensive patient care. Throughout the curriculum, osteopathic medical students learn to use osteopathic principles and osteopathic manipulative treatment to diagnose illness and treat patients.
After completing osteopathic medical school, DOs obtain graduate medical education through internships, residencies and fellowships. DOs specialize in all areas of medicine, ranging from such primary care disciplines as family medicine, general internal medicine and pediatrics to such specialized disciplines as surgery, radiology, oncology and psychiatry.
DOs are complete physicians, fully trained and licensed to prescribe medicine and to perform surgery. Many DOs incorporate osteopathic manipulative treatment into the care they provide. With OMT, osteopathic physicians use their hands to diagnose illness and injury and encourage your body to heal itself. By combining all other appropriate medical options with OMT, DOs offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.