I say it loud and I say it proud!
D.O.s and M.D.s are very similar these days. But their origin is very different. Osteopathy was borne in the late 19th century by Andrew Taylor Still, an M.D. surgeon, who was frustrated with "modern medicine" at the time after having lost four children and his wife to spinal meningitis. He felt many of the Western therapies were doing more harm than good. So, he founded Osteopathic Medicine - with a new approach, focusing on prevention, alternative treatments, the mind-body-spirit interaction, and the role of the musculoskeletal system in disease.
Today's D.O.'s are trained in Osteopathic Medical Schools (I went to the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine) and often complete their residency training in their chosen specialty among M.D.'s (which I did at Brown in Family Medicine). Holding true to the Osteopathic tenets is an important part of my practice.
- The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.
- The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
- Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
On top of this osteopathic philosophy, as a D.O. I also perform osteopathic manipulation for my patients as a part of their monthly subscription fee in the practice. Manipulation is a hands-on technique used to treat muscular aches and pains, joints aches, back and neck pain. It works best for new or fairly new injuries, and although not every patient has a miraculous recovery with OMM, many patients benefit from it as part of a full spectrum approach to their pain. OMM can even be used for sinus drainage, headaches, pregnancy-related back pain, and menstrual cramps.
Many D.O.s today practice just like M.D.s so you may not witness a significant difference between your allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) physician. But, for me, I've found that it serves my patients well to hold the Osteopathic tenets close by my side and to help them guide me in all that I do for my patients.
For more on the uniqueness of having an Osteopathic Physician read here...
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.