Osteopath Doctor in San Diego, California
A doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) is a licensed doctor who aims to improve people's overall health and wellness by treating the whole person, not just a disorder or disease they may have. This includes osteopathic manipulative medicine, which involves stretching, massaging, and moving the musculoskeletal system. In all 50 states, DOs, also called osteopaths or osteopathic physicians, are licensed to prescribe medications, perform surgery, and utilize technological imaging to diagnose and treat disease and injury.
Many use hands-on, manual treatments to minimize pain, increase physical mobility, and improve the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine estimates that 25 percent of all medical students in the United States are graduating from osteopathic medical programs.
How are doctors of osteopathic medicine trained?
Like a doctor of medicine (MD), a DO has to first earn a bachelor's degree, followed by four years of medical school. In addition to this conventional education, a DO must receive training in manipulative medicine.
After graduating from medical school, DOs take a rigorous national licensure exam, which includes the same material as the exam to become an MD. Both kinds of physicians are licensed by state medical examination boards.
DOs have to complete a residency that might last 1 to 7 years depending on the practice area. They have to also complete another 200 hours of coursework that focuses on the body's musculoskeletal framework.
Although many medical students graduate from conventional medical schools, interest in learning osteopathic medicine is growing. Today, there are 37 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States.
How do you determine whether to see a DO or an MD?
Although DOs are trained in traditional Western medicine, osteopathy is considered a complementary practice.
The primary distinction between an MD and a DO is that while osteopathic physicians might use conventional medical treatments, some also use manual treatments, like massaging and manipulating the spine.
If you're more comfortable being diagnosed and treated by a physician who is open to alternative treatments, a DO could be a good fit.
While a number of MDs also use alternative therapies, osteopaths receive unique training in treating individuals as a whole instead of targeting specific systems and symptoms.
What's the difference between a DO and a naturopathic doctor (ND)?
A naturopathic doctor (ND) attends a 4-year graduate program in naturopathic medicine and must pass a rigorous exam provided by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education.
Naturopaths are another field that is distinct from naturopathic doctors. Naturopaths have no governing body, are unlicensed, and might not be educated to the same degree as DOs.
Although DOs and NDs share a basic philosophical tenet-- that the body has the ability to heal itself-- what naturopathic doctors can and can not do varies widely from one state to another.
Osteopath Doctor in San Diego
In some states, a naturopathic doctor can be a primary care doctor, diagnosing and treating individuals with natural and homeopathic approaches. In other states, their responsibilities are much more restricted.
A DO is licensed in all 50 states to perform the same medical diagnostics and treatments as a medical doctor. Although some DOs use alternative and natural approaches, many depend on conventional treatments and approaches.
What's the difference between a chiropractor and a DO?
Chiropractors and DOs both receive specialized training in the relationship between the musculoskeletal system and overall health. Both are trained in the manual adjustment of the spine.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, chiropractors concentrate primarily on manipulations that use controlled thrusts to adjust the alignment of the spine. They're more likely to "crack" your back in the course of treating you.
Unlike DOs, chiropractors aren't licensed physicians. They're typically not required to complete residencies in approved facilities.
Do osteopaths have specialties?
Yes. Several DOs are primary care doctors, but they can specialize in any area of medicine, including pediatrics and surgery.
Osteopath Doctor in San Diego, California
Osteopaths can perform the same tests and procedures a medical doctor can, including diagnostic tests, blood and urine tests, as well as biopsies.
They can also prescribe medications, perform surgery, and treat individuals of all ages using a wide range of treatments that include both allopathic (Western) and osteopathic medicine.