What is osteopathic medicine?


Table of Contents

Beginnings of osteopathic medicine

Osteopathic medicine was founded in the late 1800s in Kirksville, Missouri, by a medical doctor, who acknowledged that the medical techniques of the day commonly triggered more harm than good. He focused on developing a medical care system that would advertise the body’s natural ability to heal itself and called this system of medicine osteopathy, which is now known as osteopathic medicine.

A Whole-Person Approach to Hands-On Care

Osteopathic physicians believe there is more to health than the absence of discomfort or disease. So, what is osteopathic medicine exactly? Osteopathic medicine’s distinctive branch of medicine in the U.S. emphasizes the interrelated unity of all systems in the body, each working with the others to help a person recover from an illness.

Osteopathy is a non-invasive manual therapy free of drugs that aims to improve health across all body systems by manipulating and enhancing the musculoskeletal framework.

An osteopathic doctor will concentrate on the joints, muscles, and spine. Treatment intends to positively impact the body’s nervous, circulatory, and lymphatic systems. Manual medicine suggests that both medical diagnosis and treatment are performed with the hands.

Osteopathy is a complementary therapy. It is utilized along with conventional treatment to improve health. However, osteopathic doctors are likewise qualified as medical doctors (MDs), and they have more training than other complementary therapists, such as naturopaths. They specialize in osteopathy. Osteopathy is among the fastest-growing healthcare professions in the United States.

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or D.O.s, are licensed physicians. They practice their one-of-a-kind whole-person approach. D.O.s look past your symptoms to comprehend how lifestyle, as well as ecological elements, influence your health and wellbeing. They study a postgraduate course and get medical training before becoming licensed medical professionals. 

Find holistic practitioners near you

Osteopathic medicine is a “whole individual” technique to medicine, which means treating the entire individual instead of simply the symptoms. With a focus on preventive health care, D.O.s assist patients in developing mindsets and ways of living that fight ailment and prevent it.

D.O.s practice medicine according to the latest science and modern technology and consider choices to complement pharmaceuticals and surgical treatment. Osteopathic medicine is just one of the fastest-growing healthcare professions in the nation, with one out of every four medical students enrolled in an osteopathic medical college. Over the past years, the occupation has experienced a 68% increase in the complete variety of D.O.s.

The career has a lengthy history of offering treatment where people do not have doctors. More than 50% of energetic D.O.s in medical care specialize in family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatric medicine.

See: What is Lifestyle Medicine

Also called osteopaths or osteopathic physicians, D.O.s are licensed in all 50 states to prescribe medications, carry out the surgical treatment, and use technological imaging to detect and treat disease and injury.

Numerous D.O.s use hands-on, manual treatments to decrease discomfort, raise physical flexibility, and boost blood and lymphatic liquid flow.

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine estimates that 25% of all medical students in the US are graduating from osteopathic medical programs.

Education & training for Osteopathic Medicine physicians

Like a medical doctor of medicine (MD), a D.O. needs to initially earn a bachelor’s degree, adhered to by four years of the medical institution. In addition to this traditional education, a D.O. must receive training in manipulative medicine.

After finishing medical school, D.O.s take a rigorous nationwide licensure examination, which contains the same items as the exam to become an M.D. State medical exam boards license both.

See: What is holistic medicine?

D.O.s have to complete a residency that might last 1 to 7 years, depending on the method area. They likewise have to complete an additional 200 hours of coursework that focuses on the body’s musculoskeletal structure.

Although many medical students graduate from traditional medical colleges, their passion for examining osteopathic medicine is growing. Today, there are 37 approved universities of osteopathic medicine in the US.

Does a D.O. Have the Same Training as an MD.?

A doctor of osteopathic medicine is a wholly trained and licensed doctor who has attended and finished a US osteopathic medical college. A doctor of medicine has participated in and completed a course from a standard medical college.

See: What is Ayurveda?

The significant difference between osteopathic and allopathic doctors is that some osteopathic physicians offer hands-on medicine treatments, such as back manipulation or massage treatment, as part of their therapy. The latter, on the other hand, do not offer the same remedy.

After medical college, both MDs and D.O.s complete residency training in their chosen specialization. They additionally have to pass the same licensing exam before they can treat people and prescribe medications.

How to decide whether to see a D.O. or an MD?

Although D.O.s are trained in traditional Western medicine, osteopathy is taken into consideration as a complementary technique.

The primary difference between an MD and a D.O. is that while osteopathic doctors might utilize traditional medical treatments, some additionally use manual treatments, like massaging and adjusting the spine.

If you are much more comfortable being identified and treated by a medical professional who is open to alternative treatments, a D.O. may be a good fit.

While numerous MDs additionally use alternative therapies, osteopaths get unique training in treating people as a whole rather than targeting detailed systems and symptoms.

See: What is Acupuncture?

Difference between a D.O. and a Naturopathic Medicine doctor

A naturopathic medical professional (ND) goes to a four-year graduate program in naturopathic medicine and must pass a rigorous test on Naturopathic Medical Education and Learning.

Naturopaths are an additional field that stands out from naturopathic doctors. Naturopaths have no regulating body, are unlicensed, and might not be informed to the same degree as D.O.s.

See: Integrative vs Functional Medicine

Although D.O.s and N.D.s share a fundamental philosophical tenet—that the body has the ability to treat itself—what naturopathic doctors can and cannot do differs widely from state to state.

A naturopathic medical professional can be a healthcare physician in some states, diagnosing and treating patients with all-natural strategies. In other states, their responsibilities are a lot more restricted.

A D.O. is licensed in all 50 states to carry out the same medical diagnostics and therapies as a medical doctor. Although some D.O.s utilize alternative and natural approaches, several rely upon standard treatments and techniques.

See: Yoga as a complementary therapy

What Is Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment?

For any kind of medical problem, D.O.s understand that each patient shares health and conditions differently and that the absence of disease does not indicate wellness. Consequently, D.O.s are educated to recognize changes in body framework that alter function, which may aggravate an illness. In addition to managing medical problems with tablets or surgical treatment, D.O.s are trained in osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) or the therapeutic application of hands-on methods to resolve body framework adjustments to enhance physiologic features.

OMT techniques range from gentle palpation to high-pressure or rapid, robust manipulation.

See: What is Functional Medicine?

Who Can Benefit from OMT?

People of all ages, from newborns to elderly adults, can benefit from OMT. Using OMT for muscles, joints, and other cells enables the body to attain a state of wellness faster and more conveniently. OMT can be practical in various medical problems, including minimizing discomfort, reducing hospital recovery time, and alleviating childhood bronchial asthma and baby colic.

OMT likewise can aid individuals with a variety of various other illnesses such as:

  • menstrual pain
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • ear and sinus conditions
  • repetitive strain injury
  • migraines
  • low pain in the back

What Is the Distinction between a Chiropractic Specialist and a D.O.?

Chiropractic practitioners and D.O.s both receive specialized training in the relationship between the bone and joint system and overall health. Both are trained in the hand-operated adjustment of the spinal column.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative HealthTrusted Resource, chiropractors focus primarily on adjustments that make use of controlled drives to adjust the placement of the spine. They are more likely to “crack” your back while treating you.

Unlike D.O.s, chiropractic physicians are not licensed, medical professionals. They are generally not required to finish residencies in authorized facilities.

Do Osteopaths have specialties?

Yes, many D.O.s are primary care physicians, but they can concentrate on any type of medicine location, including pediatrics and surgical treatment.

See: Ayurveda treatments & benefits

Procedures & exams an osteopath can perform

Osteopaths can carry out the same tests and procedures a medical physician can, including analysis examinations, blood and pee examinations, and biopsies.

Osteopaths can also suggest drugs, do surgical treatment, and reward individuals of any age using various therapies that encompass both allopathic (Western) and osteopathic medicine.

The Demand for More Research

Although osteopathy has been practiced since the 19th century, more research is required to verify its efficiency. Research has shown that osteopathic manipulative therapy is risk-free and reliable for discomfort relief throughout pregnancy. It can likewise ease migraines as well as pain in the lower back. A 2017 review found that while researchers have confirmed some favorable results, more studies must be carried out.

The UK’s National Health and wellness System goes so far as to state that while hands-on therapies have actually worked in treating osteoarthritis and also lower back pain, there is little proof so far of the effectiveness of osteopathic treatment for numerous other medical conditions.

Clinical Research

In addition to a solid background of giving high-quality individual treatment, D.O.s carry out a scientific and primary science study to advance medicine’s frontiers and demonstrate the osteopathic method’s efficiency to patient treatment. Currently, a number of organizations are associated with osteopathic medical research in control with the Osteopathic Proving Ground. The center’s staff develops, facilitates, and carries out multicenter, collective professional research study studies.

The Bottom Line

An osteopath is an accredited doctor who uses both conventional treatments and osteopathic manipulative medicine, which focuses on alleviating discomfort and stress in the bone and joint system. D.O.s finish from medical institutions, undergo full residencies and fellowships and are licensed to execute surgical procedures, prescribe medications, and make use of advanced technologies like allopathic physicians. Although more research is needed to confirm the efficiency of osteopathy, many people discover it to be secure and reliable in treating their conditions.

1. Osteopath for back pain. (2016) http://www.healthcentre.org.uk/osteopaths/osteopath-for-back-pain.html
2. What we treat. (n.d.) http://www.osteopathy.org/what-we-treat/
3. Osteopathic treatment: Benefits and risks. (n.d.) http://www.osteopathy.org/for-osteopaths/practice-development/your-patients/osteopathic-treatment-benefits-and-risks-io-resource-documents/
4. Robinson, L., Smith, M., & Segal, R. (2017, June). Insomnia: what to do when you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/insomnia-causes-and-cures.htm
5. Chikly, B. (2005). Manual techniques addressing the lymphatic system: origins and development. The journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 105, 457-464 http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2093148
6. Osteopathic medical profession report. (2016, May 31) http://www.osteopathic.org/inside-aoa/about/aoa-annual-statistics/Pages/default.aspx
7. A brief history of osteopathic medicine. (n.d.) http://www.aacom.org/become-a-doctor/about-om/history
8. Schrimpf, M., Liegl, G., Boeckle, M., Leitner, A., Geisler, P., & Pieh, C. (2015, August 20). The effect of sleep deprivation on pain perception in healthy subjects: a meta-analysis. Sleep medicine, 16, 11, 1313-1320 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26498229
9. The difference between complementary and alternative therapies. (n.d.) http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative-therapies/about/difference-between-therapies
10. Difference between an osteopath and a chiropractor. (2016) http://www.healthcentre.org.uk/osteopaths/osteopath-difference-chiropractor.html
11. Howard, J. (2016, July 29). Americans devote more than 10 hours a day to screen time, and growing http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/30/health/americans-screen-time-nielsen/index.html
12. Vandenplas, Y., Denayer, E., Vandenbossche, T., Vermet, L., Hauser, B., DeSchepper, K., & Engelen, A. (2008, July 19). Osteopathy may decrease obstructive sleep apnoea in infants: a pilot study. Osteopathic medicine and primary care, 2, 8
13. What to expect… (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.osteopathy.org.uk/visiting-an-osteopath/what-to-expect/

Have a Question?