What Is the Difference Between a M.D and a D.O?

Many people are not aware that two types of physician’s actually exist:  DO’s and MD’s, Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) and Doctor of Medicine (MD).  To explore the difference we must travel back to 1874 when a MD named A.T. Still watched three of his children succumb to meningitis he came to the conclusion that many of the medical treatments during that time period were more harmful than beneficial. 

Dr. Still would devote the next 10 years intensely studying the human body and how the various systems are interlaced with one another.  This would lead to the basic principles of osteopathy:  1. The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind and spirit. 2. The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance. 3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated and 4. Rational treatment is based upon understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function. 

Dr. Still would go on to establish the first college of osteopathic medicine in Kirksville, Missouri in 1892 which was followed by the start of full medical practice rights in 1950 with expansion to all 50 states in 1973.  The training DO’s and MD’s is very similar.  Both have to undergo four years of medical training followed by residency training the then board certification in the respective field (family medicine, surgery, anesthesiology, etc.).  What sets osteopathic physicians apart is that we undergo an additional 400+ hours in medical alone in the teaching of diagnosing impaired functions of the body framework (muscular, skeletal, lymphatic, myofascial, etc.) and non-invasive/non-pharmacologic osteopathic manipulation treatments.

Some conditions that can be helped/treated by osteopathy are headaches, sinus congestion, swelling, low back pain, shoulder problems, arthritis, constipation and so on.  Complications are rare and occur approximately 1 in 1,000,000 and usually occur with HVLA (high velocity low amplitude) treatment techniques.

In conclusion DO’s have the same education as MD’s plus extra training in diagnosing and treating issues with the body’s framework.  Osteopaths also tend to view the body as a whole and promote healthy lifestyles with emphasis on preventative medicine.

Dr. Vogt is family medicine board certified DO and is accepting new patients at SAMA’s Alamo Heights location Monday-Thursday and our downtown location on Fridays.  Call (210) 579-3645 to schedule your appointment today.