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Doctor of osteopathic medicine

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 specialty 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 principle 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 specialty 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.

References

Eisenhart AW, Gaeta TJ, Yens DP. Osteopathic manipulative treatment in the emergency department for patients with acute ankle injuries.J Am Osteopath Assoc

Guiney PA, Chou R, Vianna A, Lovenheim J. Effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment on pediatric patients with asthma: a randomized controlled trial.J Am Osteopath Assoc

Hondras MA, Linde K, Jones AP. Manual therapy for asthma.Cochrane Database Syst Rev

Huntzingkr A. AAP Publishes recommendations for the diagnosis and management of bronchiolitis.Am Fam Physician

Licciardone JC, Brimhall AK, King LN. Osteopathic manipulative treatment for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.BMC Musculoskelet Disord

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. JAm Osteopath Assoc

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.J Am Osteopath Assoc

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.Neurology

Update Date 2/24/2012