What is a DO?

Both osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) and allopathic physicians (M.D.s) are trained as complete physicians, which means that both types of physicians are fully trained and licensed to practice medicine, perform surgery, and prescribe medications in the U.S. Osteopathic medicine practices a whole person approach to health care. Instead of just treating specific symptoms, osteopathic physicians focus on the patient as a whole.

Training for osteopathic physicians includes an additional focus that centers on treating the body by improving its natural functions through osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). Through the manual manipulation of bones and soft tissue, OMT aims to restore the body’s structural integrity so it can function in a natural and healthy way. Osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) have full practice rights in all 50 states and in many foreign countries. Osteopathic physicians, can and do, provide a full range of specialty and subspecialty medical services, and practice in many of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals. Moreover, many D.O.s practice primary care in medically underserved areas. While D.O.s make up only seven percent of the physicians nationally, they see over 18 percent of U.S. patients.

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