Osteopathic Medicine is a Distinct Form of Medicine
Osteopathic medicine is a distinct pathway to medical practice in the United States. Osteopathic medicine offers all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose illness and assess injury. It also offers the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of treatment referred to as osteopathic manipulative medicine. Osteopathic medicine focuses on helping everyone attain a high level of wellness by concentrating on health promotion and disease prevention.
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, are totally licensed physicians that work in all areas of medicine. Emphasizing a whole-person approach to treatment and care, DOs are taught to listen and partner with their patients to help them get healthy and stay well.
Osteopathic Medicine in San Diego
When you believe in taking care of people-- not patients-- decisions are easier. When you aim to take everything into account-- mind, body, and spirit-- you know you're doing it right. When you believe that wellness calls for a whole-body approach and prevention makes all the difference, you're ready for the future of healthcare. When you Select DO, you know you've discovered the best path.
What does a DO do?
- Throughout the nation, DOs practice the full scope of medicine in all specialties of the medical field, from pediatrics and geriatrics to sports medicine and trauma surgery
- DOs receive the same medical training as other physicians, as well as 200 more hours of OMM training. OMM is a hands-on treatment used to diagnose and treat illness and injury.
- OMM has been shown to be successful in treating a variety of injuries and illnesses. For example, using OMM in treating individuals with pneumonia has been found to shorten the length of hospital visits and complications associated with pneumonia.
- DOs are taught to focus on the whole person, working with patients to attain high levels of wellness and disease prevention.
DOs operate in collaboration with their patients and are taught to look at the whole person.
They take into consideration the effect that lifestyle and community have on the health of each individual, and they work to erase barriers to good health. DOs are licensed to practice the full scope of medicine in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other territories of the United States, as well as in more than 65 countries abroad.1 They practice in all types of environments, including the military, and in all specialties, from family medicine and obstetrics to surgery and cardiology.
DOs are trained to look at the whole person from their first days of medical school, which means they see each person as more than simply a collection of organ systems and body parts that might get injured or diseased. This holistic approach to patient care means that osteopathic medical students learn how to integrate the individual into the health care process as a partner. They are trained to communicate with people from different backgrounds, and they are provided the chance to exercise these skills in the classroom and a variety of other settings.
Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine
The American Osteopathic Association's House of Delegates approved the "Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine" as policy which follows the underlying philosophy of osteopathic medicine. The tenets are:
- The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.
- The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
- Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the fundamental principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
Strong Foundation in Primary Care
The osteopathic medical profession has a proud heritage of generating primary care practitioners. In fact, the mission statements of the majority of osteopathic medical schools state plainly that their objective is the production of primary care doctors. Osteopathic medical tradition teaches that a solid base in primary care makes one a better physician, regardless of what specialty they might eventually practice.
Because of their whole-person approach to medicine, 57 percent of all DOs decide to practice in the primary care disciplines of family practice, general internal medicine, and pediatrics. The remaining 43 percent go on to specialize in any number of practice areas. DOs boast a strong history of serving rural and underserved areas, commonly offering their distinctive brand of compassionate, patient-centered care to some of the most economically disadvantaged members of our society.
Along with studying all of the normal subjects you would expect student doctors to master, osteopathic medical students take approximately 200 extra hours of training in the art of osteopathic manipulative medicine. This system of hands-on techniques helps relieve pain, restores motion, supports the body's natural functions and influences the body's structure to help it operate more efficiently.
One crucial concept osteopathic medical students learn is that structure affects function. Therefore, if there is a problem in one part of the body's structure, function in that area, and possibly in other areas, may be affected.
Another integral tenet of osteopathic medicine is the body's innate ability to heal itself. A number of osteopathic medicine's manipulative techniques are focused on minimizing or eliminating the obstacles to proper structure and function so the self-healing mechanism can presume its role in restoring an individual to health.
Osteopathic Medicine in San Diego
Along with a strong history of providing high-quality patient care, DOs conduct clinical and basic science research to help advance the frontiers of medicine and to show the effectiveness of the osteopathic approach to patient care. Presently, a number of organizations are involved in osteopathic clinical research in coordination with the Osteopathic Research Center. Founded in 2002, the Osteopathic Research Center (ORC) in Fort Worth, TX conducts and promotes research on the pathophysiological mechanism and clinical results of OMM. The facility works as a catalyst for developing and conducting multi-center, collaborative clinical research studies. Initial studies have concentrated on demonstrating the effectiveness of OMM as it applies too many aspects of patient care.