What Disorders Do Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine Treat?

DOs focus on a whole-patient approach to treat acute and chronic spine pain.

Most people have heard of and know about medical doctors (MD). However, fewer may understand what a Doctor of Osteopathic medicine (DO) is or how these physicians practice. Every DO is a licensed physician who practices in most every type of medical specialty, including neurology and orthopaedics. These doctors, like some of their medical counterparts, diagnose and provide safe and effective treatment for spine disorders.
An Osteopathic Doctor clinical office, holding a spine model.A doctor of osteopathic medicine can safely and effectively treat most back or neck problems. Photo Source: 123RF.com.A foundational element of osteopathic medicine is the focus on the whole patient. Instead of treating a symptom or specific condition, DOs examine how everything in your life—from your environment to your lifestyle habits—affect your health. It’s this holistic approach that makes a doctor of osteopathic medicine well suited to treat and help prevent back and neck pain.

Spinal Disorders Treated by Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine

DOs treat many types of musculoskeletal disorders affecting the spine, including:

More About How DOs Treat Back and Neck Pain

One of the tenets of osteopathic medicine is the use of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, or OMT. This approach to diagnosing pain can be particularly useful for treating painful back and neck disorders in some patients with spine-related problems.

Doctors of osteopathic medicine are skilled at understanding how your body works together—how one bone, muscle, or nerve can affect other parts of the body. In OMT, DOs use their hands to help identify the nature of your back or neck problem. The basic idea of OMT is that the doctor uses his or her hands to move, stretch, and gently apply pressure to affected muscles and joints.

OMT may relieve spinal muscle and joint pain, and it is generally considered safe for patients of all ages. In some cases, the effectiveness of OMT treats back and neck pain without the use of medications or spine surgery.

A Special Note: How DOs Treat Certain Spinal Disorders

A doctor of osteopathic medicine can safely and effectively treat most back or neck problems. Furthermore, a DO can teach you ways to modify habits (eg, posture) and lifestyle choices that can improve the health of your spine throughout life.

Sometimes osteopathic medicine alone is not appropriate for the treatment of patients with certain existing medical conditions. This may include people with bone cancer, spinal infection affecting the vertebrae (osteomyelitis), osteoporosis, or patients who have undergone previous spine surgery. In such cases, the DO may be part of the patient’s treatment team that is made up of other types of medical specialists, such as an oncologist or spine surgeon.

Updated on: 08/07/19
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What Treatments Do Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine Provide?
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What Treatments Do Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine Provide?

The aim of osteopathic medicine is to improve back or neck pain, range of motion, and function.
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