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Difference Between OD and MD

stethoscopeOD vs MD

You are probably wondering about the main differences between an OD and an MD. OD stands for Doctor of Osteopathy. On the other hand, MD means Doctor of Medicine. Both are legally protected professional titles, and they share an equal status and prestige in the practice of medicine.

ODs and MDs have so many things in common, like the four years required for medical schooling, same length of internship, and similar medical board exams to get their official license to practice medicine. However, these two professions have stark contrasts that will enable you differentiate one from the other.

First of all, Doctors of Osteopathy take their post-graduate studies in special schools for Osteopathic medicine, while Medical Doctors attend a college, or school of medicine. Each school follows specific orientation and principles for treating the patients.

Those who attend Osteopathy schools are trained to look at the patient as a whole person. Among ODs, there is a heavy reliance to investigate the organic causes of a disease or illness. They usually consider the overall lifestyles of the patient to address the symptoms of the diseases.

As a counterpoint, Medical Doctors (MD) are trained to specifically look at the symptoms of the illness, injury, or diseased part of the patient. MDs rely heavily on surgery and medications in order to cure the disease that is causing harm to the patient.

Lastly, ODs perform body manipulations which are fairly similar to chiropractic practices, while MDs are not normally trained for body manipulations.

To summarize, here are the main differences between an OD and a MD:

1. ODs are trained in Osteopathy schools, while MDs attend medical schools.

2. ODs are trained to view the ‘whole patient’, while MDs are trained to cure the diseased part of the patient.

3. ODs perform body manipulations called Osteopathic medical treatment, while MDs are not trained for this kind of practice.

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  1. OD is doctor of optometry! DO is doctor of osteopathy!

    • Actually, it stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. The degree Doctor of Osteopathy hasn’t been offered in the U.S. for decades.

  2. Osteopathy schools and Osteopathic schools of medicine are not the same thing.

  3. This article has numerous errors. OD stands for Doctor of Optometry. The abbreviation for a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is DO, not OD. Furthermore, a Doctor of Osteopathy, per updated nomenclature guidelines for the last few decades, is not what is being described on this page. Doctors of Osteopathy are non-physician osteopaths trained outside of the U.S. Lastly, the abbreviation MD stands for Doctor of Medicine, not medical doctor (common mistake).

  4. After reviewing your info on the different of an MD and OD I am able to understand the way they handle my illnesses

  5. Thanks for another informative website. Where else may just I am getting that
    type of info written in such an ideal manner? I’ve a venture that I’m simply now running on, and I have
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  6. Couple years ago, I got stem cell treatment for OAS on my right knee, the doctors on this clinic are ODs. I can say, at this point, the treatment is working out successfully.

  7. Mistaken assumptions, colossal ignorance and monumental lack of understanding the issue.
    DO and OD are NOT the same.
    DO’s are physicians recognized as doctors in all 50 states, with licensing, post-graduate training and specialization just like MD’s.
    The basic difference is that DO’s can do manipulations as art of their treatment, which MD’s do not do.
    OD’s, Optometry doctors, do not perform surgery, they are basically in charge of medical illnesses of the eye and diagnosis and treatment of refraction errors.

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