Osteopathic Medicine


What is a D.O.?

D.O. stands for Doctor of Osteopathy. D.O.'s attend 4 years of medical school just as M.D.'s, must pass 3 rounds of standard boards, and then attend an Intern year and Residency. The primary difference between the training is the addition of Osteopathic philosophy, diagnosis and treatment throughout the years of Osteopathic medical school. Students are taught how to precisely palpate the different tissues of the body, identify areas of dysfunction or discontinuous tensions, and use their medical knowledge to make informed decisions about how to address treating these findings. In some cases, your doctor might feel the need to do further physical exam tests, investigative imaging, blood work or seek second opinions from other specialist fields of medicine. If both patient and physician reach an understanding that the found problem can be helped through manual medicine, then your doctor will proceed with an Osteopathic Manual Treatment (OMT).

OMM stands for Osteopathic Manual Medicine and OMT stands for Osteopathic Manual Treatment. You will also find these defined as "manipulative" versus "manual."

OMM denotes the philosophical approach a D.O. is trained in thinking about the patient picture. In Osteopathic medical school, a D.O. learns that the ill patient is a manifestation of a complex picture involving the disease process (such as osteoarthritis, post-surgical adhesions, or a trigger finger) and the individual characteristics of that patient (such as their activity level, diet, social network, spiritual beliefs, work environment, etc.). Nearly all disease processes have some manifestation in the musculoskeletal system, and it is through these clues that a D.O. can gain a better sense of an underlying disease and help to moderate it.

OMT indicates the manual treatment that a D.O. is trained to perform when deemed appropriate. All D.O.'s regardless of their specialty training learn OMT in medical school. This initial training consists of theory, palpation, diagnosis, and learning a variety of different approaches to treatment such as Muscle Energy, Strain/Counterstrain, Cranial Osteopathy, HVLA, Still Technique, Myofascial Release (MFR), Facilitated Positional Release (FPR), and Functional. More in-depth training occurs through Mentorship, specialty rotations and residency.