Finding an osteopathic physician who practices hands-on osteopathic treatment can be hard. Much of the population in the United States does not know that osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) exist. Even with those that do, many do not know how to find an osteopath that does hands on osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). Unlike much of the rest of the world, D.O.s in the U.S. are trained as fully licensed physicians on top of their osteopathic training.
The end result of this is that the vast majority of U.S. trained D.O.s practice medicine in a similar fashion to their M.D. counterparts. They practice in primary care and all medical specialties. Unfortunately, most of these D.O.s do not practice or use their hands as they are trained to do.
In my opinion, this creates an identity crisis within the osteopathic community. Osteopathic physicians do not know how to clearly explain what they are to the public. Simultaneously, the public does not know how to find a D.O. that practices osteopathic treatment. In numbers, we are relatively small but there are over 500 of us practicing around the United States.
Osteopathic treatment is a medical specialty in the United States. One cannot go to their D.O. general practitioner and assume or expect that they will receive this kind of care. Just like one would not go to a surgeon and expect them to be an expert in ophthalmology, one cannot just go to any physician who has D.O. In their title.
There’s only one way to be certain: To find osteopaths that practice OMT, the best way is to search for an osteopath who is at least residency trained in osteopathic manipulative medicine / neuromusculoskeletal medicine (OMM/NMM).
This is also synonymous with doctors that practice neuromuscular medicine. Having all those titles makes things even more confusing in trying to find an osteopath who performs osteopathic treatment. It is certainly well worth finding one who practices OMM. According to Vitals after analyzing over 6 millions reviews D.O.s that practice OMM/NMM are considered the most liked specialty in medicine.
The OMM/NMM title means that the osteopathic physician has had specialized training in osteopathic treatment beyond the basic curriculum during osteopathic medical school. A Google search may yield some results. It can always be helpful to call and ask or research the practice website to see if one would expect to receive osteopathic treatment.
Using a dedicated directory site for D.O.s practicing OMT such as www.omtdirectory.com can make finding a specialist much easier. There one can search by region and find out who may be practicing nearby. However, OMT directory may not be up to date.
Another great resource is through the Cranial Academy (www.cranialacademy.org). There is a link to find a physician. The physicians in this directory are also very likely to be OMT practicing physicians.
Other ways to find someone is to search on other sites such as yelp.com or healthgrades.com. In this case, you may still need to do research and make sure the doctor you’re going to does indeed practice OMT. Finding a D.O. that practices OMT can be challenging but it does not have to be so if one knows how to find the right resources. Because there can be many different styles and skill levels, finding the right one for you may be more challenging.