Difference between MD and DO

The one thing that often confused people is the medical acronyms, and this often extends not just to health conditions but to the acronyms that often come with the doctor’s name. As a patient, you are bound to have come across a few, starting with the title and while it may have taken you a little while to work out that MD does not equal the same as DO, the fact remains that both these are different titles and the latter denotes the specialization, as in Doctor of Osteopathic  Medicine. So essentially both the titles refer to doctor of medicine and doctor of Osteopathic medicine, and to know more about the key differences between the both, do read on.

Difference between MD and DO

Let’s start with the most crucial part; the doctor of medicine refers to allopathic medicine –think prescriptions and the usual medicine that your MD prescribes for your current health condition. Whereas Doctor of Osteopathic medicine relates to a philosophy where the doctor treats the body, mind, and spirit; it provides a more holistic approach in treating patients. Both these disciplines are similar, in the sense, those enrolling in these programs undergo similar training and certification and are duly licensed to practice. The one major difference here is their approach to treating any health condition and patient care, and as already mentioned, DO provides a more holistic approach.

As part of the course, ODs receive additional training in treating muscular pain,  degenerative muscular conditions as a result of undergoing Osteopathic manipulative treatment or OMT, where they are specifically trained to treat muscle pains with a hands-on approach. While MD’s are also trained to handle musculoskeletal issues, the OD is more hands-on and provides for a more intensive course of treatment which can help treat the patient for a variety of health conditions, like Sinus, Migraine and much more. Granted there’s bound to be some confusion between both since they are quite similar but a careful analysis should point out that both these certifications though alike in so many aspects, are actually quite different.

Both MDs and ODs can specialize further and most chose primary care – from being a general physician to specializing further, in the fields of gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, internal medicine and much more. Patients can opt for either one; they can seek out am MD or an OD to help treat their condition as both of them are equally qualified. These doctors can provide the patient with the care they need, to help resolve their current condition as well as mitigate any pain that they may be under, at the moment.  Picking out a doctor for treating your current condition may not be easy given the fact that there are quite a few doctors around – but the good news is that you can search and check them out and then decide whether to go for allopathic or Osteopathic, to treat your condition.

Granted, seeking out a new doctor is never going to be an easy going experience; which is why you can ask around for specialists or those who have been in this field for long and have a good reputation when it comes to providing adequate patient care. It is vital that you are extremely upfront with your doctor regarding your current health condition so that he can diagnose your current condition right away. You need to inform him regarding any allergies you may have, sudden onset of symptoms and help describe the same so that he can effectively diagnose your current condition and even help determine the root causes for the same. It is only after an effective diagnosis he can help treat you for your current condition.

The osteopathic medical profession is certainly on the upswing where it is predicted that there would be at least 100,000 OD’s practicing in the US by next year. This clearly indicates the popularity of osteopathic medicine and you can expect more ODs to show up. Just remember to do your due diligence when checking out the various doctors, from MD to OD, and find out if they do have a good reputation for providing effective treatment for various conditions. You can always ask around for a few recommendations but a better idea would be to research the doctor and the clinic online, and see if they have received positive ratings from their other patients in the recent past.  This should clue you in as to whether the doctors are indeed as good as they claim to be when it comes to providing effective patient care.

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