If you’re like most people, you’ve been going to a physician ever since you were born and perhaps were not aware whether you were seeing a DO (osteopathic physician) or an MD (allopathic physician). The fact is that both DOs and MDs are fully qualified physicians licensed to practice medicine and prescribe medication in the United States.
Both DOs and MDs complete four years of medical school. After medical school, both DOs and MDs obtain graduate medical education through such programs as internships and residencies. This training typically lasts three to six years and prepares both DOs and MDs to practice a specialty. DOs and MDs can choose to practice in any specialty area of medicine such as pediatrics, family practice, physiatry or surgery. Together, DOs and MDs enhance the state of health care available in America.
Osteopathic physicians practice a “whole person” approach to medicine, with a focus on wellness. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or diseases, DOs regard your body as an integrated whole. DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system; your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the ways that an illness or injury in one part of your body can affect another area.