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Thursday, March 29, 2007

What is an Osteopathic Doctor or D.O.?

Some of you may be aware that I am a medical student at DM University. DM University, as well as many other universities, is an Osteopathic Medical Center. What does that mean? Well D.O.'s are trained doctors with and extra modality of treatment called Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM). OMM is characterized by using manipulations to treat ailments of all types throughout the entire body. Some manipulations may include 'cracking ' backs or necks. Or using patients own muscles to work on restoring normal function and range of motion. We are also trained to utilize 'tenderpoints' for muscular tension and problems as well as a number of other modalities.

Many of you may have Family Practice doctors who are D.O.'s and not even realize it. D.O.'s function off of a different principle than M.D.'s and tend to treat patients in a more holistic sense.
So if you see Walter Stonewall Vaan Allen D.O. you'll know what I'm talking about!

Can D.O.'s prescribe Medicine? Yes
Can D.O.'s become Surgeons, Neurologists or Family Practice doctors? Yes
Can D.O.'s specialize in OMM? Yes
Can D.O.'s do lab and clinical research? Yes
Are D.O.'s chiropractors or massage therapists? No

Here is a definition from Medline:

A doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) is a physician licensed to perform surgery and prescribe medication. Like an M.D., an osteopath completes 4 years of medical school and can choose to practice in any specialty of medicine. However, osteopaths receive an additional 300 to 500 hours in the study of hands-on manual medicine and the body's musculoskeletal system.

Osteopathic medicine is dedicated to treating and healing the entire patient as a whole, rather than focusing on one system or body part. An osteopath will often use a treatment method called manipulation -- a hands-on approach to assure that the body is moving freely. This free motion ensures that all of your body's natural healing systems are free to work unhindered.

Osteopaths hold to the principle that a patient's history of illness and physical trauma are written into the body's structure. The osteopath's highly developed sense of touch allows the physician to palpate (feel) the patient's "living anatomy" (the flow of fluids, motion and texture of tissues, and structural make-up).

The osteopath's job is to "set" the body to heal itself. To do so, the Osteopath gently applies a precise amount of force to promote healthy movement of tissues, eliminate abnormal movements, and release compressed bones and joints. In addition, the areas being treated require proper positioning to assist the body's ability to regain normal tissue function. This process is called osteopathic manual medicine (OMM) or osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).

Doctors of osteopathic medicine may be found in nearly any health care setting, from community clinics and private practices to academic medical centers.

Like M.D.s, osteopaths are licensed at the state level. Osteopaths who wish to specialize may become "board certified" (in much the same manner as M.D.s) by completing a 2- to 6-year residency within the specialty area and passing the board certification exams.

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1 comment:

Simon said...

...And if you don't know, now you know, sucka!