Osteopathic Physicians, also known as Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), diagnose and treat all illnesses and injuries and many specialize in treating back pain.
The distinguishing characteristics of osteopathic medicine include its focus on treating the whole body (as opposed to specific symptoms or illnesses) and its focus on the musculoskeletal system as one of the key elements to overall health and well-being. Conservative (non-surgical) treatment commonly includes osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT), medications, and all other accepted therapies when needed.
Like medical doctors (MDs), Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine who treat back pain can be:
- Primary care providers
- Conservative care specialists (such fields as physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, sports medicine, and others)
- Spine surgeons (orthopedic or neurosurgeons)
Osteopathic medicine is one of two fully recognized schools of medicine in the United States:
- There are currently 19 medical schools of osteopathic medicine recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
- State medical board examinations exist in all 50 state and must be passed for a license to practice osteopathic medicine and prescribe medication.
- Specialty boards provide standards and licensing for performing surgery.
- Practice takes place in fully accredited and licensed hospitals, medical centers, clinics, and private practice settings.
- A career path towards medical research exists.