A majority of the doctors are MD physicians who practice western medicine (allopathic medicine). A DO physician practices osteopathic medicine, which gives priority to the musculoskeletal system of the body. This is the key difference between MD and DO.
MD and DO are two different areas of medicine. However, it is important to know that both these types of physicians are well qualified medical professionals who are perfectly capable of taking care of one’s health.
What is MD?
Most physicians and doctors of different specialties are MD doctors who practice the system of medicine which we identify as the Western medicine. Western medicine is also called allopathic medicine; therefore, its practitioners are known as allopathic physicians. They try to localize a disease to a particular system by considering it as an abnormality that affects either the function or the structure of that particular system. Western medicine, which has advanced over many hundreds of years, also tries to instill a holistic approach in its practitioners in the management of patients.
What is DO?
A DO is an osteopathic physician usually involved in the primary care of patients. This system is akin to the traditional Ayurvedic medicine of the oriental world mainly due to its holistic approach to treating diseases. An osteopathic physician will be keen to know more about your personal lifestyle and will not to be eager to prescribe anything without having an idea about the big picture. Osteopathic medicine is especially popular in the USA when compared to other parts of the world. There is a steady increase in the number of osteopathic physicians in almost all the states of USA.
Similar to MD physicians, these physicians also have to undergo extensive training in clinical practice. This field gives a greater attention to the systems that maintain the integrity of the human body such as the skeletal system. As a part of their training, osteopathic physicians receive additional training on the musculoskeletal system, which they call the osteopathic manipulative treatment.
What are the Similarities Between MD and DO?
- Both receive the same medical education and extensive clinical training, albeit in different manners.
- Both types of physicians are well qualified medical professionals who are perfectly capable of taking care of one’s health.
What is the Difference Between MD and DO?
MD vs DO
|An MD is an allopathic physician practicing allopathic medicine.||A DO is an osteopathic physician usually involved in the primary care of the patients.|
|Doctor of Medicine||Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine|
Summary – MD vs DO
The key difference between MD and DO is that an MD is an allopathic physician who practices Western medicine while a DO is an osteopathic physician who practices osteopathic medicine. MD also stands for Doctor of Medicine degree whereas DO stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree.
1. Kumar, Parveen J., and Michael L. Clark. Kumar & Clark clinical medicine. Edinburgh: W.B. Saunders, 2009.
2. “Resources for Physicians.” American Osteopathic Association, Available here.