What’s the difference between a Chiropractor, MD and DO?
After a car accident, you’ve got back or neck pain or something else. Who do you see? Your Tampa car accident attorney knows who to recommend you to, but what’s the difference? Your mom gives you the name of a medical doctor (MD), while a co-worker suggests that you go to a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). Meanwhile, a friend swears by her chiropractor.
How do you pick? Who is best to help you get better after your Tampa car accident? Get to know each of these fields so you can make the best decision for your health.
2 Types of Doctors
DOs and MDs are both physicians who can practice in any area of medicine. Many are primary care doctors, but there are also DOs who specialize in dermatology, cardiology, psychiatry, and other medical fields. All doctors — MDs and DOs — can prescribe medication and train to do surgery and physical therapy after a car accident.
They have similar training, too. First come 4 years of medical school. After that, MDs and DOs work as interns, residents, and, for some, as fellows in their chosen field for 3-8 more years. More than 20% of medical students are studying to become DOs.
They both also have to pass national exams to receive a license to practice medicine.
But they’re not completely alike. What’s the difference?
During a routine visit with your doctor, a DO will most likely check on your whole body, not just any symptoms you have. You may hear this called a “holistic” approach.
Osteopathic doctors get extra training in the musculoskeletal system (your muscles, bones, and joints). This knowledge helps them understand how illness or injury can affect another part of the body.
DOs also learn something that MDs don’t: osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). They use their hands to help diagnose, treat, and prevent illness and injury. They can even adjuster you if you ask! It’s a key part of their medical training. Not all DOs use OMT routinely. But when they do, they apply techniques such as gentle pressure, stretching, and resistance to help restore range of motion and encourage good health.
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is based upon the principle that the human body possesses self healing/self regulating mechanisms that are the source of true healing. The Osteopath is trained to discover the treatment plan that these forces have already designed, in that moment, specifically for that patient. The focus in treatment, therefore, goes beyond simple spinal alignment, to dealing directly with the abnormal body physiology using a array of direct and indirect techniques. This more holistic healthcare perspective, affords the Osteopath a broader spectrum of therapeutic options in addition to thrust techniques, among which are myofascial release, muscle energy, counterstrain, visceral manipulation, Osteopathy in The Cranial Field, and Biodynamics.
This broader range of diagnostic and therapeutic options, allows the Osteopathic physician to custom fit their treatment plan to the patient’s unique needs, respecting the fact that each of us is not necessarily meant to look and function the same way. This also means that the Osteopath does not prescribe months or years of treatment at the first visit, but lets the prescription unfold as the treatment process proceeds.
Osteopathic Medicine is based upon a science of healing discovered by Andrew Taylor Still, MD in 1874. Dr. Still based this new science upon an absolute faith in a human beings innate capacity for self-healing and a belief that if the Osteopath could remove the obstructions in the system, nature would provide the healing. It was his view that what we call disease is really just an effect of an abnormality or imbalance within a person’s body. “Disease in an abnormal body is just as natural as is Health when all the parts are in place.”
Osteopathic training, therefore, includes, not only the study of all branches of medicine and surgery, but also up to 500 hours of additional training in manual diagnosis and treatment. Today, there are more than 50,000 osteopathic physicians in the United States whose practices cover the entire range of specialties, such as emergency medicine, neurosurgery, cardiology, and psychiatry. More than 65% of DO’s choose primary care specialties, such as family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics, and pediatrics, as opposed to only 25% of MD’s.
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine:
A DO can also specialize in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) for which Board Certification became available in 1990. Certification for Osteopathy in the Cranial Field is provided by The Cranial Academy, which is currently held by approximately 150 physicians nationwide. All DO’s are required to attend and document 50 hours of continuing medical education credits each year. For specialists in OMM, advanced training is offered by various organizations within the profession.
Those doctors who utilize Cranial Osteopathy have many hours of additional training in the various functions of the PRM and its relationship to all the anatomic and physiologic systems in the Living Human System. This specialized training allows the osteopathic physician to diagnose and treat disorders and diseases in ways that are unique to this method of Osteopathic Diagnosis and Treatment.
What About Chiropractors?
Like DOs, chiropractors focus on the entire body and how different bodily systems work with each other. They also use their hands to diagnose and treat people. They do “adjustments” to correct alignment, improve how the body works, and restore health.
DOs and chiropractors share a few similar moves. One example is high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA), which is a thrusting motion to the spine that’s meant to help movement. Commonly known as “cracking your back” or “adjustments.”
But chiropractors do not have the same medical training as MDs and DOs. They can’t prescribe medicine or do surgery, for instance. Instead, their expertise is doing adjustments, recommending exercises, and offering nutrition and lifestyle advice.
Osteopathic Physicians vs Chiropractors – Scope of Practice:
The primary differences between an Osteopathic physician and a chiropractor are their levels of training and the scope of their practice. A chiropractor is not a fully licensed medical physician, and is not required to have completed residency training in a hospital. The scope of chiropractic practice is defined by statute as “including the diagnosing and locating of misaligned or displaced vertebrae and, through manual manipulation and adjustment of the spine and other skeletal structures, treating disorders of the human body. The practice of chiropractic does not include the use of drugs or surgery, or the practice of osteopathy, obstetrics, or any other branch of medicine”.
Osteopathic Physicians vs Chiropractors – Techniques:
Chiropractic is primarily concerned with normalizing the alignment of the spine to influence the relationship between the spinal column and the nervous system. In this way, the chiropractor endeavors to influence the physiologic function of all of the organs and systems within the body. Although their techniques have expanded somewhat in recent years to include more gentle techniques, the vast majority of chiropractic adjustments are still of the thrust variety.
Tampa Attorney Martin J. Hernandez
Attorney Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez, LLC in Tampa provides legal representation for families in auto accident injury and wrongful death cases. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys welcome the opportunity to interview with you and your loved ones. We invite you to review our recent results from settlements to trial verdicts. Our qualifications and background are available to you as well. Our Tampa Attorneys Martin Hernandez and Daniel Fernandez are bilingual as well. Just call us at 813-229-5353 for your free consultation.
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