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MD vs DO: What is the difference?

When it’s time to choose a new PCP you may realize that some physicians have D.O. after their name, while some have M.D. While both are physicians, there are a few differences between the two that are worth understanding before you make your final decision.

First off, an M. D. is a medical doctor, one who practices allopathic medicine or as it is more commonly known, “western medicine”. This form of medicine focuses on treating the disease or illness when it presents. For example, you’re living your life, you get a sinus infection, you see the doctor and get antibiotics for the infection, you get better and don’t see your doctor again until you fall ill once more.

A Doctor of Osteopathy is different in that the focus is on a more holistic approach. The mind and the body need to be in sync for good health. The focus is on prevention and not just treating illness as it develops. To use the sinus infection example again, an osteopath can treat that sinus infection the same as the M.D., but will also explore how you slept, what nutrients you were putting in your body, how you were exercising – all to determine your over all health and prevention illness in the future. He/She may also perform a spinal manipulation to help bring the body back into alignment.

To be sure, in your day to day interactions with your provider, you may not immediately notice a difference between a D.O. and an M. D. However, a D.O. may offer an additional level of care not supplied by an M.D. Also, statistically speaking, a higher percentage of D.O.s go into primary care as opposed to specialty care.

If you have further questions about what makes a D.O. unique, make an appointment to come by our office. Dr. Tremblay would be happy to sit down and discuss this with you. Our first visit is complimentary, so you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

Brooke Rieth NP

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