National Osteopathic Medicine Month
If there’s a D.O. after your doctor’s name and not an M.D., what does that
D.O stands for “Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.” The D.O. and M.D. degrees
have many similarities. Both require graduation from a 4-year medical school
plus 2 to 6 years of additional training, depending on what type of doctor the
According to the American Osteopathic Association, about 65 percent of all
osteopathic physicians practice in primary care areas such as family medicine,
pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology and internal medicine. They also specialize in
all the same fields that M.D.s do.
D.O.s emphasize caring for the whole person, not just a symptom or an
illness. They receive extra training in the body’s musculoskeletal system—the
nerves, bones and muscles. This training, they believe, helps them understand
how one illness or injury affects the entire body. D.O.s also learn “osteopathic
manipulative treatment,” using their hands to help diagnose injury and illness.
It’s highly possible that somewhere along the line, you have received medical
care from a D.O., because D.O.s practice in the same settings as M.D.s and they
are licensed to perform the same kind of care.
The American Osteopathic