What is a DO?
A DO or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is a licensed physician who, like MDs, can practice in all areas of medicine, prescribe medications, and perform surgeries. However, DOs have a unique approach to healthcare that focuses on treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms. DOs are trained to use a technique called osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), which involves using their hands to diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses. This hands-on approach allows DOs to assess the body’s musculoskeletal system and make adjustments to help the body heal itself. DOs also receive additional training in preventive medicine and believe in the body’s ability to heal itself.
What is an MD?
An MD or Doctor of Medicine is a licensed physician who practices allopathic medicine. This approach focuses on treating diseases and their symptoms using drugs, radiation, or surgery. MDs are trained to diagnose and treat illnesses through physical exams, lab tests, and medical history. They may also use medical imaging, such as X-rays or MRI, to help diagnose or monitor a patient’s condition. MDs may specialize in various fields, such as pediatrics, cardiology, or surgery. They can also prescribe medications and perform surgeries. Unlike DOs, MDs do not receive training in osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) but may refer patients to a DO if they believe OMT could be beneficial.
Educational Differences between DOs and MDs
DOs and MDs both attend medical school and complete a residency program before becoming licensed physicians. However, there are some differences in their education. MDs attend allopathic medical schools, which focus on treating diseases using drugs and surgery. DOs attend osteopathic medical schools, which focus on a whole-person approach to healthcare and use osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) as a complementary therapy. While both types of schools cover similar topics such as anatomy, pharmacology, and pathology, osteopathic medical schools require additional coursework in osteopathic philosophy and manipulative techniques. Both DOs and MDs must pass a licensing exam before practicing medicine.
Scope of Practice Differences between DOs and MDs
DOs and MDs have similar scopes of practice, meaning they can both diagnose and treat medical conditions, prescribe medications, and perform surgeries. However, there are some differences in their approaches. DOs often focus on preventive care and a whole-person approach, taking into account the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of their patients. They may use osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) to help treat conditions such as back pain, headaches, and asthma. MDs, on the other hand, may focus more on treating diseases and their symptoms using drugs, radiation, or surgery. MDs may also refer patients to specialists if needed. While both DOs and MDs can work in various medical settings such as hospitals or private practices, DOs may be more likely to work in primary care specialties such as family medicine or internal medicine.
Which one should you choose? Factors to Consider.
Choosing between a DO and an MD may depend on several factors, including personal preferences, medical needs, and career goals. If you prefer a whole-person approach to healthcare and are interested in osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), you may want to consider seeing a DO. On the other hand, if you are more interested in treating diseases and their symptoms using drugs and surgery, an MD may be a better fit for you. Your medical needs may also play a role in your decision. For example, if you have a musculoskeletal condition such as back pain, you may benefit from seeing a DO who can provide OMT. If you require a specialized procedure or surgery, an MD with expertise in that area may be the best choice. Finally, if you are considering a career in medicine, you may want to research the differences between DO and MD programs to determine which one aligns better with your goals.