Osteopathic Physicians (DO's) have been around since the
middle 1800's. (What ia an Osteopath) It is truly a homespun all American brand of medicine. It was founded by a Missouri Civil War MD who was frustrated
by the lack of success with the medical tools of the time. Think about it. By today's standards almost all of
what we are familiar with in medicine did not exist. I don't know about you, but that would scar me. He (Andrew
Taylor Still) was looking for a new paradigm of medicine after his daughter died from spinal meningitis. Due to the
particular nature of his daughter's death he looked to the spine and it's neurological connections for a model upon which
to build a new system.
He worked out a system of manipulative musculo-skeletal
techniques to integrate into conventional medicine. Not too unexpectedly, the medical establishment of the time could
not accept the notion that aligning body parts might actually help someone feel better. He, therefore, was forced to
form his own school of medicine known as Osteopathy. Today, that term can be a cause of confusion. The public ,in general,
does not generally know that Osteopathic physicians are as fully licensed as MD's, but yet we have additional skills with
musculo-skeletal manipulative techniques.
Most Osteopathic physicians tend to go
into primary care (general practice, family practice, etc.). A fair percentage become specialists in every field from
cardiology to neurosurgery. The reason that a high percentage of us go into primary care is that we are taught an integrated
approach to health. Typical allopathic (MD's) training tends to sectionalize medicine into a disease model. This
encourages their graduates to go into sectional (specialty) fields. There is no wrong or right with these different
approaches, and, in fact, it affords Americans with a balanced choice of physicians.
I have generally found Osteopathic physicians to more open minded than our allopathic colleagues. It comes
from our training, and I can give my own personal account of how I became open minded to modalities that are safe and effective
but yet out of the box of mainstream medicine. Very early in my career I saw the benefits of manipulative medicine in
helping people with musculo-skeletal (mostly spinal) problems. Knowing that there was a blind lack of faith of this
proven modality still brewing amongst a fair number of MD's gave me cause to think about: What else don't they know?
I found out. It was quite a bit. At this point, I must say that I am an avid fan of Western technocological medicine,
but I can also admit to its limitations. It was for this reason that I, like many DO's, looked for other answers for
my patients problems. This is not to say that there are not MD's out there looking for the same thing, but I am talking
from my perspective as an Osteopath. I got away from the commercialized presentation of medicine and found a wealth
of literature from the East, Europe, and lesser publicized Americans there for the taking. It was upon this that I started
my journey into a more expansive presentation of medicine for my patients.