What are osteopathic practitioners?

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A doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) is a physician licensed to prescribe medicine, perform surgery and diagnose medical conditions. DOs undergo similar training to medical doctors (MDs), including receiving a bachelor's degree, usually in a scientific field, completing four years of medical school and training through internships, residencies and fellowships that lasts approximately three to eight years after medical school. Osteopathic physicians who wish to specialize may become board certified (in the same manner as MDs) by completing a two- to six-year residency within their chosen specialty area and passing the board certification exams.
 
DOs receive additional training in the musculoskeletal system and osteopathic manipulative treatment. In this training, they learn to use their hands both to diagnose disease and injury and to encourage the body's natural tendency toward healing. DOs practice in all specialties and in the same hospitals and medical facilities as MDs. Most DOs (about 60 percent) practice in the primary care specialties of internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. They also emphasize preventive health care in their practices.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Osteopathic practitioners are trained to use the musculoskeletal system as its own self-regulating tool for healing the body. They are trained to use their hands to actually find areas in the body holding tension. Like MDs, doctors of osteopathic medicine have full medical licenses. Since not all causes of pain can be identified on an x-ray, osteopathic treatments can be very helpful.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.