Osteopathy, or osteopathic medicine, is a holistic medical practice in which the client’s musculoskeletal system — comprised of nerves, muscles, and bones — is manipulated in order to promote health and wellness throughout the body.
Dissatisfied with the ineffectual medical practices of his time, American physician Andrew Taylor Still developed osteopathy in the late 1800s. Still theorized that structural problems in the spine caused disease and that the body was capable of healing itself. Accordingly, he encouraged the doctor and patient to act as partners in the healing process.
Today, many osteopathic doctors are primary care physicians, specializing in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics, and/or pediatrics, among other branches of medicine. A visit with an osteopathic doctor will be similar to a visit with a medical doctor. However, after the practitioner takes the client’s complete medical history, he/she performs a lengthier evaluation of the client’s musculoskeletal system. The practitioner usually uses his/her hands to conduct this physical evaluation, which may be supplemented by laboratory tests and/or x-rays. Like medical doctors (MDs), osteopathic doctors (DOs) are licensed to use a range of treatment practices, including drugs, surgeries, and technological innovations. Nevertheless, osteopathic doctors give preference to the least invasive, most natural therapies.
Osteopathic doctors administer clinically-proven therapies for a variety of conditions, including neck and back pain, neurological disorders, mental conditions, menstrual pain, and others.