I’m still asked periodically, what is a D.O. (https://osteopathic.org/what-is-osteopathic-medicine/what-is-a-do/)? A D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) is one of the two types of physicians that are licensed to practice medicine and surgery in the United States. The other type is the more commonly recognized M.D., or allopathic physician.
3 Differences in Training for Osteopathic Medicine
Although there are many similarities in how both types of physicians practice, there are subtle differences in philosophy and training. Traditionally, Osteopathic physicians are taught to have a more whole-person approach to medical care. This includes consideration of several factors that influence a patient’s health such as diet, environment, and socioeconomic issues.
Osteopaths also believe the body has an inherent ability to heal itself and it is our job to help facilitate this process in the least invasive way possible. Although osteopaths prescribe medications and perform surgeries, we are traditionally more inclined to take a more holistic approach to treating the root cause of problems rather than treating the symptoms.
Osteopathic physicians undergo the same training as their allopathic counterparts, but they also have extra training in musculoskeletal system. They learn hands-on treatment techniques that they may incorporate to help restore the natural interrelationship between the nerves, muscles, bones and joints.
There are many D.O. physicians who are nationally renown for their trade – including the physician of President Donald Trump (Dr. Sean Conley, DO), and the physician of his political opponent, Vice President Joe Biden (Dr. Kevin O’Connor, DO).
So, once a student graduates from either type of medical school, they are a doctor. They then typically enter a residency program where they specialize in a particular field of medicine. After this, they may even enter additional training to further specialize.
In my case, I did my undergraduate studies at Michigan State University, medical school at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin and then stayed on at UW to do a fellowship in Pain and Musculoskeletal medicine.
I am very proud to be an Osteopathic physician and would not have changed my path. My Osteopathic training has helped shape my perspective on patient care and provided me with a valuable skill set used for diagnosing and treating my patients.