There is a fine, but vital, line between the definition of an M.D. (doctor of medicine) and a D.O. (doctor of osteopathic medicine). Both are fully licensed physicians able to perform surgery and prescribe medication. Both D.O.s and M.D.s are required to complete a four-year undergraduate degree with an emphasis in science, prior to finishing four years of basic medical education. Both practice in fully accredited and licensed medical centers. So whats the difference?
The difference between the professions lies in the philosophy and added dimension in D.O. training. Osteopathic medicine recognizes that all body systems including the musculoskeletal system, are interdependent, and thus a disturbance in one causes altered functions in others. This method of practice gives the D.O. a broader base for the treatment of the patient as a whole.
Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is also inherent in the training and everyday practice of these physicians. By using OMT, D.O.s are able to diagnose injury and illness with their hands, and encourage the bodys natural tendency towards good health.
Osteopathic medicine has been officially recognized by federal governments, state governments, private and public health agencies as a separate but equal branch of American health care. Licensure requirements are very similar and provide D.O.s the same range of professional services as the M.D. D.O.s serve as medical officers in the Civil Service Commission, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Veterans Administration, and as medical examiners for the Federal Aviation Agency.
Most D.O.s provide primary health care to individuals and families. Others are specialists in fields such as surgery, internal medicine, radiology and psychiatry.
In the 1990s a separate specialty in neuromusculoskeletal medicine was established for osteopathic physicians who wanted to distinguish their practice as primarily concerned with a manipulative approach to medical management.
The board certified Dr. Schultz with a special proficiency in osteopathic manipulative medicine in 1995.