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What’s the Difference Between an MD and a DO?

What’s the Difference Between an MD and a DO?

Both an MD (Doctor of Medicine) and a DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) are doctors licensed to practice medicine in the United States. They have similar education and certifications, but there are slight differences in their training.

The vast majority of physicians in the United States are MDs. In fact, according to Wikipedia, only seven percent are DOs. However, the Federation of State Medical Boards also points out that, “The osteopathic medical profession continues to experience exponential growth in its numbers.” As of 2017, there were more than 137,000 osteopathic medical students in the US, and that number continues to grow.

While the numbers of Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine are on the rise, most patients still aren’t exactly sure what osteopathy actually is. The key, according to the American Osteopathic Association, is osteopathy’s “whole person” approach to medicine.

“The osteopathic philosophy involves treating the body and the mind. It’s a slightly more holistic approach,” says Derek Eggleston, DO. “For the patient, the osteopathic approach is sometimes less about prescribing medications and a little more about trying to empower the body to heal itself.”

As part of their medical education, Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine receive additional musculoskeletal training called “osteopathic manipulative treatment” – a hands-on healing method designed to treat muscle pain in patients with migraines, sinus disorders, and asthma.

Both MDs and DO’s can practice in any medical specialty, from family medicine and pediatrics to obstetrics and gynecology.

Ultimately, choosing a doctor – whether MD or a DO – is a very personal choice. Above all, it’s important to choose someone you feel comfortable with; someone that you trust.

To see the full list of healthcare providers at Ogden Clinic, please click here.