What is a D.O.?


While many people are usually familiar with a doctor of medicine (M.D.), fewer patients may be knowledgeable about what a D.O. is. A doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) is a fully credentialed physician or surgeon who specializes in a whole-body approach to patient care. Osteopathic physicians practice in all areas of medicine and are unique and highly sought-after because of the close, partner-like relationship they are able to develop and maintain with their patients. The primary goal of a D.O. is to help their patients achieve optimal health and stay well throughout their lives using holistic, personalized care approaches.

With one-quarter of today’s medical students enrolled in colleges of osteopathic medicine throughout the country, this field of care is becoming increasingly prevalent. Throughout their education, medical degree candidates learn all about the musculoskeletal system, comprising all of the muscles, nerves, and bones that play a role. Using this knowledge, osteopathic surgeons are able to focus on prevention and healing through lifestyle and environmental modifications. As a D.O., Dr. McKerahan will work to help you achieve a sound body, mind, and spirit along with relieving your symptoms and managing your medical conditions.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is osteopathic medicine?

Osteopathic medicine is a branch of medicine that centers around the internal systems of the body and how they all work together to heal from illness and disease. The goal of an osteopathic physician is to improve your health by helping you achieve unity across each of your body’s systems. The musculoskeletal system plays an especially crucial role because it comprises each of the muscles, nerves, and bones that make up your body. If something is out of whack, other parts of your body often soon follow suit. It is the job of an osteopathic physician to detect the issue, fix it, and work with you as everything else falls into place.

What training do D.O.s receive?

Like all doctors, osteopathic physicians complete four years of medical school and go on to attend residency and fellowships. The primary focus of an osteopathic physician is preventive and comprehensive care. During medical school, they are taught to identify any issues that may exist within the body’s systems and to help patients achieve unity across each of these systems. D.O.s can become board certified and specialize in any type of medical care.

What’s the difference between a D.O. and M.D.?

The primary difference between these two types of medical doctors ultimately boils down to their philosophy of care. While medical doctors tend to focus on research-based medicine and surgical solutions to manage any conditions you may have, D.O.s take a whole-body approach to improve your overall wellness. Since M.D.s and D.O.s are both highly trained professionals with years of experience, the choice between one over the other comes down to your preferences and what you would like to get out of your medical care.