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How is a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) different from a medical doctor (MD)?

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DOs will likely check on your whole body, not just symptoms -- a “holistic” approach. Some MDs also use this approach.

Osteopathic doctors get extra training in the musculoskeletal system (your muscles, bones, and joints). This helps them understand how illness or injury can affect other parts of the body.

DOs also learn something MDs don’t: osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). Using gentle pressure, stretching, and resistance, they can restore range of motion and encourage good health.

SOURCES:

American Osteopathic Association: “What Is a DO?” “Fast Facts About Osteopathic Medical Education.”

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine: “What Is Osteopathic Medicine?”

Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical Center: “Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Normal Structure & Function of the Musculoskeletal System.”

American Osteopathic Association: “Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Chiropractic, Spinal Manipulation, and Osteopathic Manipulation.”

American Chiropractic Association: “Education Requirements,” “Chiropractic Qualifications.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Osteopathic Manipulation for Back and Pelvic Pain.”

Health Affairs: "Doctor Of Osteopathic Medicine: A Growing Share Of The Physician Workforce."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on January 11, 2019

SOURCES:

American Osteopathic Association: “What Is a DO?” “Fast Facts About Osteopathic Medical Education.”

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine: “What Is Osteopathic Medicine?”

Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical Center: “Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Normal Structure & Function of the Musculoskeletal System.”

American Osteopathic Association: “Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Chiropractic, Spinal Manipulation, and Osteopathic Manipulation.”

American Chiropractic Association: “Education Requirements,” “Chiropractic Qualifications.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Osteopathic Manipulation for Back and Pelvic Pain.”

Health Affairs: "Doctor Of Osteopathic Medicine: A Growing Share Of The Physician Workforce."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on January 11, 2019

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