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O is for Osteopath

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a-to-z-letters-oA doctor of osteopathic medicine is slightly different from a doctor with a ‘regular’ MD degree. I bet you have met an osteopathic doctor and didn’t even know it, and yet, if I ask most people if they know what an osteopath is, they think it’s either a new age thing or it’s a doctor who works on bones (that’s an orthopedist, if you’re wondering).

Osteopathy is a perfectly normal educational plan for docs and in the United States, it’s considered identical in every way to an MD for practicing medicine. However, the practice of medicine is ever so slightly different, as is the education of these osteopathic doctors. The main difference is that osteopaths are supposed to be more interested in how the body works together as a whole, more than the individualized sub-specialties that only care about their little organ or part of the body.

It’s been said that osteopaths are more likely to take a hollistic approach to medicine. It’s been said that osteopaths are more likely to consider alternative medicine treatments than an MD would. It’s been said they use less medication, fewer pills and procedures, and are interested in letting the body heal itself and assisting the body to heal itself than they are about using chemicals and surgery.

I’ll be honest with you though: My primary care doctor is an osteopathic doc. I see no difference in her treatment than any other doc I’ve gone to. And none of them really seem that interested in any of the ‘alternative’ stuff that I am looking into for healing. Hey, whatever doesn’t kill us…. but at this point, I’m desperate and will try anything. Yanno?

What I can tell you for certain about osteopathic docs, as a whole (’cause each one might be different by themselves and you might find one who is a real asshole), is that the osteopathic docs seem to take more time with me. They seem more interested in knowing what is wrong with me, how I’m actually feeling. The MDs seem more interested in lab results and don’t think to ask me how I’m actually feeling. The DOs (the doctors of osteopathy) always seem to care more about how I feel and then correlate that to the lab findings instead of the other way around. It’s a subtle difference, but sometimes it makes a huge difference to the patient.

So when you see that a doc is a DO, know that this doesn’t make the a lesser doc in any way. The curriculum for training and education is nearly identical–with the emphasis on DO docs being on treating the whole body (in fact, many DO programs have two additional classes MD docs don’t have to take), and an emphasis on healing the body naturally if at all possible–and ultimately, that’s what we want, for our bodies to heal themselves naturally as possible.

So don’t shy away from a DO just because you didn’t know what DO meant. They are real docs, and some of them are quite good.

Love and stuff,

Michy

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5 Responses to “O is for Osteopath”

  1. Had an osteopath when we lived in Oklahoma, and had all kinds of confidence in him. Not many to be found up here in Central Illinois, though.

  2. Yvonne Lewis says:

    Here in the UK an Osteopath is a different from your part of the world. Here it’s a doctor that deals with bones and muscle.
    Enjoyed reading your post all the same.
    Yvonne.
    A to Z Ambassador.

  3. Clearly you put a lot of time and effort into this post. It’s very informative and helpful. Thank you!

  4. Derek Odom says:

    I totally agree. My mother worked with a couple real good ones.

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