If you're like most people, you've been going to Physicians ever since you were born and perhaps were not aware whether some, or all of them, were Osteopathic Physicians, also known as D.O.s. You may not even be aware there are two types of complete Physicians in the United States: D.O.s and M.D.s.
The fact is that both D.O.s and M.D.s are fully qualified Physicians licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery. Is there any difference between these two kinds of Physicians? Yes and no.
D.O.s and M.D.s are Alike in Many Ways:
Osteopathic Medicine is a unique form of American medical care that was started in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, M.D., D.O. Dr. Still was dissatisfied with the effectiveness of 19th century medicine. He believed that many of the medications of his day were useless or even harmful. Dr. Still was one of the first in his time to study the attributes of good health so he could better understand the process of disease.
Dr. Still developed a philosophy of medicine based on ideas that date back to Hippocrates, the father of medicine. That philosophy focuses on the unity of all body parts. Dr. Still identified the musculoskeletal system as a key element of health. He recognized the body's ability to heal itself and stressed preventative medicine, eating properly, and keeping fit. Dr. Still pioneered the concept of "wellness" more than 135 years ago. In today's terms, D.O.s evaluate each patient's health risks--such as smoking, high blood pressure, excessive cholesterol levels, and stress. In concert with prescribing appropriate medical treatment, Osteopathic Physicians act as teachers to help patients take more responsibility for their well being and to change unhealthy patterns.
Just as Dr. Still pioneered osteopathic medicine in 1874, today's osteopathic Physicians serve as modern-day medical pioneers.
They continue the tradition of bringing health care to where it is needed most:
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