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Difference between OD and MD

Difference between OD and MD

If you’ve ever found yourself confused while trying to understand the differences between an OD (Doctor of Osteopathy) and an MD (Doctor of Medicine), then this blog post is for you! With a better understanding, not only will you get more out of your next doctor’s appointment but you’ll also know which type of provider is most qualified to treat your condition. Here, we provide a comprehensive look at the distinctions between doctors that hold these two titles in terms of their medical practices, degrees earned, accepted philosophies, and certifications.

What is OD?

OD stands for Doctor of Osteopathy, which is a type of health care profession that emphasizes preventive medicine and holistic patient-centered care. OD practitioners are similar to traditional doctors and surgeons in that they receive extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and illnesses – but osteopathic medicine has a unique focus on total patient health, where caring for one part of the body should lead to healing throughout the entire body.

OD practitioners spend time assessing how all the organs, bones, muscles, ligaments, connective tissues, tendons, joints, and nerves are functioning together, with the goal of helping patients heal naturally and find long-term wellness. OD doctors also place emphasis on preventative care as well as traditional conventional medical treatments when necessary.

What is MD?

  • MD stands for Doctor of Medicine and is a medical degree that is widely recognized around the globe. MD courses typically last six years and must be obtained from accredited medical institutions or universities, such as those found throughout Europe, South America, and North America.
  • MD Doctors of Medicine specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases, illnesses, and injuries using evidence-based methods; creating recovery plans; monitoring treatment progress; assisting with invasive surgery; ordering medical tests when necessary; and educating their patients about preventive health care.
  • MD’s also often pursued additional fields of medical experts such as anesthesiology, endocrinology, oncology, cardiology, or neurology. MD’s are highly respected clinicians who dedicate their lives to ensuring the highest quality of patient care possible.

Difference between OD and MD

OD, or Doctor of Osteopathy, and MD, or Doctor of Medicine, are two medical professionals trained to diagnose illnesses and provide medical treatments. OD doctors differ from MD doctors in that they use a holistic approach to medicine by taking into consideration the entire body, as opposed to just searching for symptoms within a particular area.

  • OD doctors also emphasize preventive care with patient education, promoting healthy habits, and teaching people how to adjust their eating habits and other lifestyle patterns that may reduce future risks for health problems.
  • OD training also includes hands-on techniques such as massage therapy and manipulation of the musculoskeletal system which help reduce symptoms of illness without the use of medication.
  • While OD and MD doctors both address physical health concerns, OD doctors focus on how changes in lifestyle can lead to improved emotional well-being alongside physical well-being.


It is important to know the difference between an OD and an MD when you are seeking out medical care. An MD has completed a traditional 4-year medical program and has a degree from an accredited institution. An OD has also completed 4 years of training, focusing on preventative care and the body’s ability to heal itself. ODs are also trained in the manipulations of the musculoskeletal system. When choosing a doctor, it is important to consider what your specific needs are and which type of physician will be able to best help you meet those needs.

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