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Osteopathic Manual Therapy, or OMT, is a set of hands-on techniques used by Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury. Using OMT, a DO moves a patient's muscles and joints using techniques that include stretching, gentle pressure and resistance.
What is a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO)? Osteopathic Physicians, or DOs, are fully licensed physicians who practice every medical specialty. DOs receive extra medical training in working with the musculoskeletal system, the body’s joints, muscles and bones. As part of this training, DOs learn to perform Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT) which is similar in many aspects to Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, and Massage. Doctors who use OMT, such as Dr. Meek, use their hands to apply gentle force to the joints and soft tissues in a therapeutic way. The goal of OMT is to restore healthy motion to the body. Often times this can be achieved so as to avoid the use of potentially dangerous medications or procedures.
What's the difference between a MD and a DO? MDs and DOs are the only physicians who practice every medical specialty and can prescribe medications. Their training is essentially identical with the exception that DOs receive extra training on the nervous system and musculoskeletal system. DOs also learn OMT while MDs do not. Their credentials are unrestricted and equivalent. The current and past President of the United States have had DOs as their personal physicians. DOs have previously served as the Surgeon General of the United States.
What’s the difference between a DO and a Chiropractor? Both Osteopathic Physicians and Chiropractors perform manual therapy. The treatments they perform are somewhat different, though the larger difference lies in the overall training. Osteopathic Physicians undergo four years of medical school and three to ten years of residency training, whereas Chiropractors typically have a four-year degree. Osteopathic Medicine is a comprehensive Western medical curriculum that trains DOs to perform surgery, prescribe medicine and practice without restriction in any medical specialty. Chiropractors have a less comprehensive training and have a limited license.
How did Osteopathic Medicine come about? Osteopathic Medicine began in the late 1800s, after the civil war. The founder of Osteopathic Medicine, A.T. Still, was an MD who worked as a surgeon during the war. During this era, many medical and surgical techniques were unrefined compared to practice today. Dr. Still believed that patients would be better served with less invasive approaches that let the body heal itself. “The object of a physician is to find health - anyone can find disease.” In time, medications and surgeries improved and Osteopathic Physicians have adopted their use, while maintaining caution regarding the risks.