Difference Between MD and DO

Difference Between MD and DO

The difference between MD and DO is obvious and understated. An MD is a Doctor of Medicine whereas a DO is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Both MDs and DOs study how to diagnose diseases or injuries and treat them to keep off.

“An M.D. follows an allopathic medical training path, whereas a D.O. follows osteopathic,” says Piedmont internal medicine physician Elizabeth Jaggers, M.D.

If they go to a customary (allopathic) medical school, they’ll have MD after their name which specifies that they have a Doctor of Medicine Degree. If they go to an osteopathic medical school, they’ll have DO after their name specify that they have a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree.

Both have similar training, responsibilities, and duties, but they are different in some important zones. Their training varies to some extent, and each has an exclusive perspective. Moreover, their degrees mean that the concerned doctor is a licensed and certified physician.

Many people know the difference between MD and DO and they visit accordingly, but many still don’t know much about it. So, in this article, we’ll discuss the difference between MD and DO so everyone can understand the dissimilarity between them.

What is MD?

Difference Between MD and DO

MDs (Doctor of Medicine) are allopathic doctors and they generally focus on treating specific medical conditions or surgery. The diagnosis of illnesses is made by clinically examining the patients, performing blood or radiological tests and other diagnostic procedures to treat a particular disease.

They treat and diagnose illnesses and conditions using medical tools such as x-rays, complete blood count, prescription medications, and surgical treatment.

MDs are trained over and done with several years of both coursework and clinical practice. So they can decide on to be wide practitioners and work as family medicine, kind of physician, or primary care doctors. Medical Doctors have usually known kinds of physicians.

They can dedicate themselves to several dissimilar areas that need further education with Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Surgery, Geriatric medicine, or Particular body parts or organs.

What is DO?


DOs (Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine) are supposed to do the same medical practices as MDs do but with other techniques. DOs lean towards focusing more on general health. It emphasizes more on treating the body as a whole instead of treating particular conditions.

In holistic health, the patient’s all parts are considered throughout the treatment together with their body, mind, feelings, and emotions.

According to the American Osteopathic Association, “DOs regard the body as an integrated whole rather than treating for definite symptoms only”. “Allopathic medicine focuses more on disease treatment”, Dr. Jaggers describes.

Above half of DOs decide to work in primary care, but just like MDs, they can specialize in another area as well. They’re commonly found in more specialized fields. It’s all up to them to choose what they want.

They also have the same duties, responsibilities, and rights to perform surgery with training and suggest medicine. “This is not a naturopath,” Dr. Jaggers says. “It’s important that people understand that.”

Osteopathic medicine students learn how to assess people with the same tools and techniques that students of MD do. They also learn how to use osteopathic manual medicine (OMM) which’s called osteopathic manipulative treatment.

OMM is an undergo hands-on musculoskeletal training in which hands are used to diagnose the disease or injury to treat it such as blood pressure, indigestion, insomnia, and asthma.

Here are some examples of OMM techniques that all DOs learn during a physical exam.

  • They apply gentle pressure to specific areas like abdomen, legs, feet, arms etc.
  • They check patient’s bones, joints, or other structures through their skin.
  • Stretching out an arm or a leg
  • They use Muscle Energy Technique (MET). This technique uses the patient’s muscular system to improve structural position and reduce tension within the musculoskeletal framework.

It is important to mention that not every DO uses every technique in medical practice they have learned in practice.

MD vs DO – Are they Trained Differently?

Both MDs and DOs learn how to diagnose, treat and avert diseases and injuries. They also receive the same training hours and go through four years of medical school. The main difference between the two courses is that DOs go through another extra 200 hours of coursework.

In additional training, they focus on bones, muscles, and nerves and learn how they have an emotional impact on the body’s overall health. Moreover, DOs may take additional classes to cover holistic or other therapies.

Although preventive medicine is taught in both allopathic and osteopathic medicine, yet osteopathic medicine has supplementary classes on preventive medicine.

Difference Between MD and DO – Comparison Table

Focus on treating specific medical conditions with medication or surgery.Focus on whole-body curing and have a holistic approach with or without customary medication and alternative therapies.
Four years of medical school after earning a bachelor’s degree.Training hours are the same but they have to complete an extra 200 hours of coursework.
Both MDs and DOs are qualified in the same way to take care of patients’ medical needs. Both are professionally trained with hands-on experience but DOs take additional classes to cover holistic or other therapies.

I hope you have learned the difference between MD and DO. Both are licensed doctors and both require arduous study and internship programs to gain licensure. The main difference between the two courses is that MDs learn allopathic medicine whereas DOs learn osteopathic medicine.