What Is Osteopathic Medicine?

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Osteopathic medicine and its doctors believe that good health is more than having no pain and disease. Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine or DOs use a unique whole-person approach to help prevent injury and illness.

What is osteopathy as a branch of medicine?

It is a specialized field of medicine in the United States that emphasizes the interconnected union of all the functioning systems in the human body. Osteopathic medicine believes that these systems work to heal themselves during times of injury or illness.

One of the techniques used by osteopathic physicians (DOs) is the Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment or OMT. OMT are techniques used in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illnesses and injuries. Through OMT, DOs create movements on a patient’s joints and muscles while using stretching, pressure, and resistance techniques.

DOs receive specialized education and training in managing the human body’s musculoskeletal system to practice the hands-on technique in helping patients. The musculoskeletal system is the body’s complex system of muscles, nerves, and bones.

The specialized and advanced training gives DOs a deep understanding of how the human body’s systems are interrelated and how they affect each other when they work and do not.

When applicable, OMT can be used and be an alternative to drugs or surgical procedures. In this regard, osteopathic physicians are important to increasing the dimensions of standard medicinal care.

Benefits of OMT

This treatment can aid in the plight of people of any age and medical history. OMT can be used to treat pain, increase healing, and improve overall mobility. OMT is also used in treating muscular discomfort, but it is also beneficial to patients who are:

  • Asthmatic
  • Mired with sinus problems
  • With median nerve compression
  • Experiencing frequent and intense headaches
  • Dysmenorrhea

OMT uses specified amounts of pressure against various parts of the human body. This pressure application technique can aid in the of the following:

  • Tissue and structural abnormalities treatment
  • Addressing joint problems and misalignment
  • Creating a balance between muscle and tissue
  • Overall blood flow

OMT also helps relieve multiple types of long-term pain. Even though treatment for chronic pain in the body varies, OMT is clinically proven to be a good way to relieve back pain.

According to Jennifer Caudle, DO, an assistant professor of family medicine at the Rowan University College of Osteopathic Medicine, OMT makes osteopathic medicine a distinct field for treating pain in the lower region of the back.

Dr. Caudle also stated that clinical studies have shown that OMT is an effective alternative to medication and other existing therapies.

Osteopathic Medicine

Who are osteopathic physicians?

According to Osteopathic.org, osteopathic medicine as a field is one of the quickest growing professions in health care within the U.S. Out of four medical students, one is enrolled in Doctor of Osteopathy schools.

Osteopathic physicians take a whole-person approach to the treatment and care of patients. They are trained to listen and understand their patients to help them achieve good health and wellness.

Along with receiving specialized and advanced training in the human body’s musculoskeletal system, they also train under the latest medical technology innovations to offer patients the most comprehensive and effective care available to them.

Even though primary care remains a priority for osteopathic physicians, they practice in all medical specialties.

Over 120,000 osteopathic physicians are currently practicing in the U.S., with an estimate of 25% of medical students enrolled in the osteopathic medicine program. The profession is considered one of the fastest-growing tracks in the health care field.

The overall focus of osteopathic physicians is on the preventive side of medicine. DOs work to turn a patient’s lifestyle environment around to promote their well-being. They help patients strive for wellness in their minds, bodies, and spirits.

DOs are trained with an emphasis on preventive medicine and thorough patient care. This makes them valuable in the promotion and maintenance of overall health and wellness.

How are DOs licensed and certified?

DOs receive the right to practice medicine by state licensing boards. The requirements for licensure and certification vary by state.

Usually, for a DO to get licensed, they need to complete a medical licensing exam administered by state licensing boards. They can also opt to accept a certification issued by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners after completing a series of exams.

Osteopathic physicians earn board certification once they achieve expertise in a medical specialty or subspeciality by meeting certain requirements of the specialty certifying board. Physicians practicing in the U.S. receive a board certification through the American Osteopathic Association or the American Board of Medical Specialties. The process of earning board certification for DOs involves a combination of practical, written, and simulation examinations.

Whether you are reading this to see if consulting a DO is your key to good health or looking to pursue being a DO yourself, note that DOs, like other types of medical practitioners, are valuable to helping people be their healthiest selves.

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