A D.O. is a doctor of osteopathy, also known as an “osteopath.” You may have seen these letters after a doctor’s name, or your doctor might be one. D.O.’s are fully licensed medical doctors practicing osteopathic medicine, which follows the philosophy of treating the whole person. This is based on the belief that everything in the body is connected and that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself. Using this philosophy, D.O.s are able to help the body work at its maximum potential to keep you as healthy as possible.
Osteopathic physicians use OMT, or Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, as a way to help do this. They are taught to use their hands to diagnose and treat structural and tissue changes in the body. You can think of these as things that are out of place or not moving correctly because of a medical problem. Using OMT, your osteopathic physician helps your body distinguish the healthy patterns from the not-so-healthy ones, which may be causing you pain or other problems. This can help with acute or chronic medical problems in a variety of different ways.
Common things that are treated with OMT include back pain, headaches, joint pain, sinus problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even babies with colic or difficulty latching and sucking well. Along with medication, physical therapy, activity, diet, weight loss, stretching, and other modalities, OMT can help people’s bodies function at their highest potential. When OMT is used in conjunction with other treatment methods, such as those above, it can help decrease the severity, duration, and frequency of symptoms, as well as increase overall levels of discomfort. It can also help some patients with chronic pain conditions decrease their need for pain medication.
OMT comes with a highly individualized treatment plan, unique to every person and medical problem. This individualization of treatment also extends to each specific visit, meaning that your osteopathic physician may not find and treat exactly the same thing each time. Treatment depends on how your body has chosen to respond to daily life, routines, and previous treatment, while keeping in mind any medical problems you may have.
OMT is a hands-on, gentle technique based on a strong understanding of the anatomy of the human body and musculoskeletal system. It works on many levels to help you feel better by making adjustments to the joints, muscles, and nerves, as well as many other things in the body that may need some fine-tuning.
For more information regarding Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, you can consult Erin O’Hara, D.O. or Clare Green, D.O. of Hoag Medical Group or talk with your doctor to find a physician in your area that uses OMT.