If you’re like most people, you’ve been going to a doctor since you were born and perhaps didn’t know if you were seeing a DO, (osteopathic physician) or an MD (allopathic physician). You may not even be aware that there are two types of complete physicians in the United States.

The fact is, both DOs and MDs are fully qualified physicians licensed to perform surgery and prescribe medication. Is there any difference between these two kinds of doctors? Yes. And no.

DOs Bring Something Extra to Medicine

  • Osteopathic medical schools emphasize training students to be primary care physicians.
  • DOs practice a “whole person” approach to medicine. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, they regard your body as an integrated whole.
  • DOs receive extra training in the musculosketal system – your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones that make up two-thirds of its body mass. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the ways that an injury or illness in one part of the body can affect another.
  • Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is incorporated in the training and practice of osteopathic physicians. With OMT, osteopathic physicians use their hands to diagnose injury and illness and to encourage your body’s natural tendency toward good health. By combining all available medical procedures with OMT, DOs offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.

Find a DOThis will take you to the physician database search page at the AOA site.