Search

Doctor of osteopathic medicine

Definition

A doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) is a physician licensed to practice medicine, perform surgery, and prescribe medication.

Alternative names

Osteopathic physician

Information

Like all allopathic physicians (or M.D.s), osteopathic physicians complete 4 years of medical school and can choose to practice in any speciality of medicine.  However, osteopathic physicians receive an additional 300 - 500 hours in the study of hands-on manual medicine and the body's musculoskeletal system.

Osteopathic physicians hold to the priciple that a patient's history of illness and physical trauma are written into the body's structure. The osteopathic physician's highly developed sense of touch allows the physician to feel (palpitate) the patient's "living anatomy" (the flow of fluids, motion and texture of tissues, and structural makeup).

Like M.D.s, osteopathic physicians are licensed at the state level. Osteopathic physicians 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 specilaty area and passing the board certification exams.

D.O.s practice in all specialties of medicine, ranging from emergency medicine and cardiovascular surgery to psychiatry and geriatrics. A majority of osteopathic doctors use many of the medical and surgical treatments that are used by other medical doctors.

See also: Types of health care providers

References

Eisenhart AW, Gaeta TJ, Yens DP. Osteopathic manipulative treatment in the emergency department for patients with acute ankle injuries. . 2003 Sep;103(9):417-21.

Guiney PA, Chou R, Vianna A, Lovenheim J. Effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment on pediatric patients with asthma: a randomized controlled trial. . 2005 Jan;105(1):7-12.

Hondras MA, Linde K, Jones AP. Manual therapy for asthma. . 2005 Apr 18;(2):CD001002. Review.

Huntzingkr A. AAP Publishes recommendations for the diagnosis and management of bronchiolitis. . 2007 Jan 15;75(2); 265-244.

Licciardone JC, Brimhall AK, King LN. Osteopathic manipulative treatment for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. . 2005 Aug 4;6:43.

Licciardone JC, Stoll ST, Cardarelli KM, Gamber RG, Swift JN Jr, Winn WB. A randomized controlled trial of osteopathic manipulative treatment following knee or hip arthroplasty. J . 2004 May;104(5):193-202.

McReynolds TM, Sheridan BJ. Intramuscular ketorolac versus osteopathic manipulative treatment in the management of acute neck pain in the emergency department: a randomized clinical trial. . 2005 Feb;105(2):57-68.

Suchowersky O. Practice parameter: neuroprotective strategies and alternative therapies for parkinson disease (an evidence-based review): report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. . 2006 Apr 11;66(7): 976-82.

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.