A DO is a doctor of osteopathic medicine. Osteopathic medicine represents one of two distinct schools of medicine in the United States. The education process for a DO consists of four years of an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school and at least three years of residency training.
Osteopathic medicine focuses on the total person, with an appreciation for the interrelationship of the various systems of the body to maintain health, and to prevent illness and disease. Here are a few additional facts about osteopathic medicine:
In addition to conventional medical training, a DO also receives "hands on" training in osteopathic diagnosis and manipulative treatment. This acts as an extra tool to treat patient ailments.
Osteopathic manipulation (OMT) is a whole system of evaluation and treatment designed to achieve and maintain health by restoring normal function to the body. Manipulation means the therapeutic application of manual pressure or force. DOs believe structural problems in the spinal column can affect the nerves that radiate out to the various organs, thus causing disease.
Some DOs still use OMT to treat all forms of disease. However, the majority of DOs use manipulation to treat musculoskeletal disorders such as:
The New England Journal of Medicine's Nov. 4, 1999 issue concluded that patients with chronic low back pain can be treated effectively with manipulation.
There are several different techniques of OMT, including:
The doctor will perform a complete history and physical, and order any X-rays or other diagnostic tests that may be necessary to help diagnose your condition. Once your problem is diagnosed, the doctor will develop a plan of treatment.
The first exam will take approximately 30 to 60 minutes. Follow-up appointments will last from 15 to 30 minutes.
While OMT is beneficial for many common musculoskeletal problems, such as low back pain, patients with some conditions should avoid this therapy. These include patients with:
There are no side effects of OMT other than possible soreness for 1 to 2 days after manipulation. Of course, the degree of potential soreness depends on the approach used by your physician.
© Copyright 1995-2020 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.
This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 03/30/2017