Osteopathy and Osteopathic Medicine

There are two ways to become a physician in the US: studying allopathic medicine and obtaining an MD or studying osteopathic medicine and becoming a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O).

While both DOs and MDs receive the same medical education, DOs are trained in a treatment technique called Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine or OMM. This hands-on approach treats a wide variety of health conditions including breathing issues, bowel problems and pain.

Nutritional Counseling

The body is interconnected and osteopathic physicians take this into account when addressing health concerns. They are trained to listen compassionately to their patients, see them as whole persons, and encourage patient participation in decisions about their care.

Nutrition is a key aspect of osteopathic medicine, as the foundation of good health lies in eating a balanced diet. Yet many practicing physicians and medical students report feeling unqualified to discuss specific dietary recommendations with their patients. This may be attributed to inadequate nutrition education in medical school.

A recent study evaluating preclinical (first and second-year) osteopathic medical students found that they had positive attitudes toward nutrition counseling but had limited knowledge of nutritional basics. The researchers recommend that nutrition-based courses be integrated into the osteopathic medical curriculum to improve future practitioners’ ability to counsel patients on nutritional needs.

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, are fully licensed medical doctors and can prescribe medication and perform surgery, just like MDs (Medical Doctors). However, DOs have additional training in hands-on manipulation techniques called osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) that focus on the interrelationship between the body’s structure and function. This includes recognizing somatic dysfunction—disturbances in the musculoskeletal system that can affect other organ systems in the body. For example, an osteopathic physician who treats a pregnant woman with constipation might use a technique called sacral rocking to stimulate the part of the autonomic nervous system that triggers bowel movements.

Preventive Care

The root word “osteo” in osteopathic medicine means bone. Doctors of osteopathy, or DOs, receive additional training in musculoskeletal system and in a hands-on technique called osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). They also believe the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, bones, joints, connective tissue and nerves, influences other bodily systems through the autonomic nervous system.

A DO may use OMT to treat a variety of conditions that can impact the musculoskeletal system, from gastrointestinal disorders to headaches. The techniques used by a DO, which include stretching, pressure and resistance, can help relieve back pain, tennis elbow, asthma and migraines, among other conditions.

In addition, DOs are trained in health education and counseling. They encourage patients to take a proactive role in their own health and work with them to create healthier lifestyles.

When you see a DO, rest assured they are fully licensed physicians and can diagnose and treat any illness or injury that would be treated by an MD. At Brown & Toland, our open-minded physicians have extensive experience treating a wide range of medical conditions. If you have questions about osteopathic care, contact us today. We are happy to discuss your options. We can’t wait to meet you! Posted on April 19, 2018 by Heather Brown & filed under News.

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