A Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) is very much like a traditional medical doctor (M.D.), but has received additional training in the body’s musculoskeletal systems. This training teaches a D.O. to examine diagnose and treat the body as a whole, rather than isolating and treating a single illness or symptom. A doctor of osteopathy takes a more holistic approach to medicine by looking at the body as a complete system, instead of placing emphasis on one particular part.
D.O.’s are trained and licensed by the states to examine patients, prescribe medicine and perform surgery like an M.D. To become a doctor of osteopathy the individual must complete 4 years of undergraduate work, followed by 4 years of medical school and then complete an extra 300-500 hours of study on the body’s musculoskeletal system. A D.O.’s can become board certified after a two to six year residency and successful completion of board certification exams. They can choose to specialize in a particular field as M.D.’s do.