All About Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathy physician holding an X-Ray resultAlso known as Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs), these complete physicians have licenses to practice in all states in the US. They can also prescribe medications as needed as well as perform surgery. What sets them apart is that they are primarily doctors, specialists second.


Osteopaths get specialized training in manipulating the body’s musculoskeletal system. This helps them get better insights on how injuries in one part of the body impacts another. They diagnose health problems and encourage the natural tendency in a person to become healthier.

To get a degree in Osteopathic Medicine in Illinois or other states, students must study for four years. They learn the following:

• Preventive medicine and holistic care
• Areas such as family, internal, OB-GYN, pediatric medicine and surgery
• Training on primary care physicians
• An area of their choice, which means 2–6 years of more training

Type of care offered

Since DOs are complete care physicians, they bring a distinct set of skills to their practice. A DO can specialize in psychiatry, pediatrics or even work in the ER after specialization.

In the past quarter century, the number of DOs has gone up by about 67%. Osteopaths get training in some areas, which a regular MD does not.

The focus of Osteopathic medicine is integrated treatment of a body’s systems and good health. DOs fill a critical need for services that are usually not available in far-flung rural areas. Even though the difference between an MD and a DO is largely philosophical, there is a need for good doctors.

Applying and gaining admission into any residency program is not difficult — it is an individual choice. Keep in mind that the DO program might have less stringent requirements for admission in your state.


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