DO vs. MD
If you are like most people, you probably don't know the difference between a medical doctor, MD, and an osteopathic doctor, DO.
DOs and MDs are alike in many ways:
Applicants to both DO and MD colleges typically have a four-year undergraduate degree with an emphasis on science courses.
Both DOs and MDs complete four years of basic medical education.
After medical school, both DOs and MDs can choose to practice in a specialty area of medicine—such as psychiatry, surgery, obstetrics, or sports medicine—after completing a residency program (typically two to six years of additional training).
Both DOs and MDs must pass comparable state licensing examinations.
DOs and MDs both practice in fully accredited and licensed hospitals and medical centers.
Both are medical doctors; MD is specifically Doctor of Medicine and DO is Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.
What Makes DOs Different?
DOs can perform surgery, child delivery, treat patients, and prescribe medications in hospitals and clinic settings.
DOs look at the "total person." Osteopathic physicians focus on preventive care. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, they look at the whole body.
DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, which is comprised of the nerves, muscles, and bones. This training gives DOs a better understanding of how an injury or illness in one part of the body can affect another part of the body; therefore, DOs have a therapeutic and diagnostic advantage.
DOs use what is called osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). OMT is a technique in which the DOs use their hands to diagnose injury and illness, giving special attention to the joints, bones, muscles, and nerves. Manipulations improve circulation, which in turn, creates a normal nerve and blood supply, enabling the body to heal itself.
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