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What is Osteopathic Medicine?

What is Osteopathic Medicine?

Osteopathic medicine is acomplete system of medical care with a philosophy that combines the needs of the patient with the current practice of medicine, surgery and obstetrics, and emphasizes the interrelationships between structure and function, and an appreciation of the body's ability to heal itself.

You are more than just the sum of your body parts. That’s why doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.s) practice a "whole person" approach to health care. Instead of just treating specific symptoms, osteopathic physicians concentrate on treating you as a whole.

Osteopathic physicians understand how all the body’s systems are interconnected and how each one affects the others. They focus special attention on the musculoskeletal system, which reflects and influences the condition of all other body systems.

This system of bones and muscles makes up about two-thirds of the body’s mass, and a routine part of the osteopathic patient examination is a careful evaluation of these important structures. D.O.s know that the body’s structure plays a critical role in its ability to function. They can use their eyes and hands to identify structural problems and to support the body’s natural tendency toward health and self-healing.

Osteopathic physicians also use their ears -- to listen to you and your health concerns. Doctors of osteopathic medicine help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don’t just fight illness, but help prevent it. Millions of Americans prefer this concerned and compassionate care, and have made D.O.s their doctors for life.

What "extras" do Osteopathic Physicians bring to Medicine?

As part of their medical school curriculum, osteopathic physicians receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, the 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 your body can affect another. Many D.O.s use osteopathic manipulation (OMM) with other traditional medical procedures to diagnose and treat injury and illness. This makes them a favorite among Olympic athletes, sports teams and personal fitness enthusiasts who focus on diet, exercise and manipulation. For instance, the team physicians for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Rattlers and Phoenix Coyotes is an osteopathic physician.

What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine?

Osteopathic manipulative medicine refers to approximately 25 different types of manual procedures performed by a physician to alleviate pain or treat problems related to an injury or medical condition. A D.O. completes a structural diagnosis by using an expanded observation and palpatory examination of the neuromuscular skeletal system with its venous, lymphatic, and pulmonary interactions to identify the presence of significant impediments to health and wellbeing. OMT is used by a D.O. in conjunction with medical, surgical, or rehabilitative interventions.

History of Osteopathic Medicine      

     A Visionary Ahead of His Time.

Osteopathic medicine was founded in the late 1800s in Kirksville, Missouri, by Andrew Taylor Still, M.D., who felt that the medical practices of the day often caused more harm than good.

After losing members of his immediate family to meningitis, Dr. Still focused on developing a system of medical care that would promote the body's innate ability to heal itself. He called his system of medicine osteopathy, now known as osteopathic medicine. His concept of medicine was based on wellness and on the unity of all body parts. He identified the musculoskeletal system as the key element of health. He recognized the body's ability to heal itself through proper nutrition and staying fit.