The first time I heard about Osteopathic Medicine, I was venting to a friend after having gone to see my primary care physician about my worsening migraines. He felt ill equipped to treat me and was contemplating sending me on what a dubbed as “a tour of specialists”. He wanted me to see my OB-GYN in case the headaches were hormone related, a neurologist since the headaches were in my head, and an allergist to see if they might be food related. This tour was going to take a few months by the time I had all the appointments scheduled and I was feeling a bit frustrated that I couldn’t take care of it all in one fell swoop. “Have you ever looked into seeing a DO?” she asked. I wasn’t even sure what that was! Turns out, she was referring to a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine or a DO for short.
What is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine??
Osteopathic Medicine was started in the late 1800’s when a medical doctor took a look at the current state of many treatments and realized many were doing as much harm to patients (if not more) than good. He decided to focus on the body’s own ability to heal itself and coined it “osteopathy”. The field has grown since then, but at its core, osteopathic medicine still focuses on the patient as a whole. DOs partner with their patients to find solutions rather than just prescribe what they have been taught is the “right treatment”.
Are Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine real doctors?
DOs are absolutely real doctors. They attend medical school and go through the same licensing process every other doctor goes through. The difference is in how they view the patients they see. While many doctors focus on only on their specialty or a certain area of the body, DOs look at how each body system works with and impacts the others. They also have a strong focus on proactive prevention rather than just reactive treatment.
The field of Osteopathic medicine is growing significantly with one out of every four medical students enrolling in an osteopathic medical school. It seems to be a field that also appeals to women as the number of women DOs under the age of 45 rose 62% between 2010 and 2015, and 48% of DOs in active practice less than 10 years are female. In addition, 55% of all DOs practice in a primary care field (such as pediatrics or family medicine).
Want to learn more about osteopathy or find a DO near you? The website DoctorsThatDO.org is a resource designed to help educate patients about osteopathic medicine. If you are looking for a doctor who is trained to listen to their patients and look at them as people first, this is a great place to start.
Disclaimer: Compensation was provided for this blog via Momtrends The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of American Osteopathic Association or Momtrends..