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If you are like most people, you probably don't know the difference between a medical doctor, M.D., and an osteopathic doctor, D.O. They really are alike in many ways.
Applicants to both D.O. and M.D. medical colleges typically have a four-year undergraduate degree with emphasis on scientific courses. Both complete four years of basic medical education.

After medical school, they can choose to practice in a specialty area of medicine, then complete a residency program, which can range from 2 to 6 years. They both must pass a state licensing examination. D.O.s can perform surgery, child delivery, treat patients, and prescribe medications in hospitals and clinic settings and in all branches of the armed forces. D.O.s use all the tools of modern medicine, just as M.D.s do.

They are specially trained to perform osteopathic manipulations, a technique in which the D.O. use their hands to diagnose illness and treat patients, giving special attention to the joints, bones, muscles, and nerves. Manipulations improve the circulation, which in turn, creates a normal nerve and blood supply, enabling the body to heal itself.
But, D.O.s bring an extra dimension to your family's health care, they look at the "total person".

Osteopathic physicians focus on preventive care. They practice the "whole person" approach to medicine. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, they look at the whole body. D.O.s recieve extra training in the musculoskeltal system, which make up the nerves, muscles, and bones. In doing so, this gives them a better understanding of how an injury or illness in one part of the body can affect another part of the body.
This gives D.O.s a therapeutic and diagnostic advantage over those who do not recieve additional specialized training.

D.O.s use what is called osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in their practice.
With OMT, D.O.s use their hands to diagnose injury and illness and to encourage your body's natural tendency toward good health. Osteopathic medicine is a form of American medical care that was developed in 1874 by Dr.Andrew T. Still. Dr. Still was unhappy with the medicine of the 19th Century. He believed that many of the medications of his day were useless or even harmful. He was one of the first in his time to study the attributes of good health so that he could better understand the process of disease. He identified the musculoskeletal system as a key element of health. By combining all the medical procedures with OMT, they offer their paitents the most comprehensive care in health care today.

As quoted by Dr. A.T. Still, founder of osteopathic medicine,1874, "Any variation from health has a cause, and the cause has a location. It is the business of the osteopathic physician to locate and remove it, doing away with the disease and getting healthy instead."