WHAT IS OSTEOPATHY?
Osteopathy is one of the two branches of medical care in the United States. DOs (Doctors of Osteopathy, also called Osteopathic Physicians) are like MDs in many ways. Both attend 4 years of fully licensed medical schools and can prescribe medications and perform surgeries. Both complete a residency program of their choice and become board certified. They can choose anything from family medicine to obstetrics to cardiology to brain surgery. MDs and DOs often train side by side.
So what is the difference? In addition to standard medical training, DOs learn how to approach patients differently, treating the whole person rather than the symptoms. DOs also use their hands to diagnose and treat many conditions. DOs believe that the body is capable of healing itself from many ailments and injuries if it is functioning properly. To function properly, the body needs to be in good alignment and have good mobility (good structure), as well as good respiratory, circulatory, and nervous system function. DOs can help people improve their Health and prevent disease by treating these systems.
DOs differ from chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, homeopaths, etc. This is because DOs have complete medical training in addition to manual therapy training, and treat the whole person.
How do DOs use their hands? There are many styles and techniques used by DOs, and no two Osteopaths treat the same way. Some styes are very subtle and use fluids and connective tissue, and others use muscular motion or small quick motions of the joints. Treatments are called OMT (Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment). Heel lifts or other appliances may also be recommended.
What conditions do DOs treat? Many people assume DOs just treat back or neck pain, sciatica, migraines, and the like. The truth is, DOs can treat any condition in any age group, utilizing the individual’s own capacity to heal.