MD vs DO: What’s the difference & which is better?

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

(hip-hop beat) – The majority of licensed
medical physicians practicing medicine in
the US today are MDs, also known as “medical doctors.” However, there is also
an increasing number of practicing physicians known as DOs, which means “doctors of
osteopathic medicine.” Both are equally licensed
to practice medicine in all 50 states. I wanna make one point
very clear before we start: one degree is not better than the other. In fact, they have so many similarities it would probably take
an hour to cover them. This video is gonna focus
only on the differences between an MD and a DO The most evident
difference between the two is that DOs practice
something called O.M.T., which is “osteopathic
manipulative therapy.” Instead of just telling you,
I’d much rather show you. Come on. Osteopathic manipulation is
a hands-on therapeutic tool whereby manipulating
the body’s own tissues can restore and maintain optimal function. And it’s a low-risk, conservative measure that can be used in place
of medication and surgery. And it treats all types of ailments, everything from low back pain, to something more complex
like congestive heart failure. Take a deep breath in. Deep breath out. (neck popping) (patient laughing) How’s that feel? – Really good! – In osteopathic medical
school, there’s a heavy emphasis placed on the holistic medical approach. Now what does that mean? It means an extra focus on the body’s own ability to heal itself, a focus on prevention, and
a focus on the whole patient instead of just the disease process. Just because there’s a heavier emphasis placed on this holistic
model in osteopathic school, it doesn’t mean that MDs don’t practice with this model as well. There are plenty of MDs who treat with the whole patient philosophy in mind. Those first two differences
were just differences in medical school training. Now let’s move on to
residency, which is arguably the most important part
of medical training. In order for a residency program to be considered legitimate, it needs to be authorized
by an accreditation council, and currently there are
two accreditation councils: one for MDs and one for DOs. DOs can train under either
accreditation council, however MDs can only
train under the MD banner. Come 2020, those two
accreditation councils will merge, and allow residents to train
under a unified council, further strengthening my
point that there’re becoming less and less differences
between the two degrees. Now, how about practicing internationally? Well, here, MDs have a distinct advantage, as they’re able to practice medicine in more countries than DOs. Currently about 50 countries
allow full medical licensing for US-trained DOs, with
more countries allowing restricted practicing as well. This restriction stems from the confusion created by European-trained osteopaths, who aren’t medical doctors,
but are only trained in manipulation of the
musculoskeletal system. However, the AOA has
been making great strides in educating foreign governments about US-trained osteopathic doctors. Now what about the applicants? To get into an MD or DO program
is extremely competitive, with the number of applicants
and score requirements rising each year. It’s important to know
that DO schools do accept the non-traditional
medical school applicant: those who are going into medicine as their second career,
or perhaps later in life, or don’t have a scientific background. Also the GPA/MCAT combo
required for admission is slightly lower for DO schools, but that gap is closing each year. Interestingly, because
there are less DO schools, despite the lower requirements, it’s still more competitive
to get into a DO school. A couple more differences. There’s a 9:1 ratio of
MDs to DOs out there, with about 100,000 DOs in active practice. And two, a higher percentage of DOs go into primary care specialties like family medicine,
OBGYN, or pediatrics. Me personally, I chose the DO route, because I’m a fan of treating
the patient as a whole and the prevention aspect. Plus, it never hurts to have
a hands-on tool like OMT. Bottom line is, when
you’re picking your doctor, you should focus less on their degree, and more on their communication skills, knowledge, bedside manner, and experience. (jazzy hip-hop beat)

100 thoughts on “MD vs DO: What’s the difference & which is better?

  1. Dr. Mike: deep breath in, deep breath out…

    Dr. Mike: breaks neck 😂
    That'd feel awesome though 😂

  2. is there a way for D.O's to become M.D.'s and vice versa? given your explanation in this vid., I would guess there isn't much reason to do so unless a D.O. was looking to practice somewhere internationally, where the M.D. is more recognized and accepted as a medical credential

  3. I went on a tour of an osteopathic medical school and fell in love. I was able to see students practicing OMT and also see state of the art technology used to train students. Becoming a DO is definitely one of my bigger career paths but I still am unsure of what route I want to take. This video was great!

  4. Ugh, that just looked like chiropractic stuff. One of my oldest friends’ dad was an orthopedic surgeon who warned me against chiropractics, and I’ve had so many knee, back, and neck probs. The MD referred me to PT, which oftentimes worked. We went to surgery as a last resort option. Chiropractors scare me. In college, one propositioned me. That aside, I never felt any relief. Never heard of DO before Dr. Mike, I clearly need to research-

  5. Kinda wish this was a lot longer.

    Both are fine. I've worked with both outside of the United States in volunteer free clinics for the poor.

  6. Would prefer an MD. DOs are less likely to prescribe drugs. I just want something to treat whatever dx I have, not a holistic tx.

  7. What is the scientific basis and where are the RCT data supporting spinal manipulation? Serious question.

    I've been treated by a chiropractor who made severe back pain disappear after one treatment. No gravy train, once a week, BS.

    I want to know why it worked. The pain was real, the relief was also real.

  8. We have many D.O.'s here in the Tampabay area, and many are in specialized subspecialties. We even had a D.O. hospital here until recently. Being a Cardiac device specialist, I've worked with several Cardiologist that are D.O's and would put there knowledge and technique equal with any M.D.s

  9. Man I was really surprised seeing this video, my mom is and osteopath, and I am also considering going in the same path, although in my country (Israel) it is still a developing field without much recognition

  10. I'm a little nervous that DO and OMT is just a fancier word for Chiropractors. It's one of those things that a lot of people want to work but I worry that it's all derivative of that spinal subluxation nonsense that has no proof behind it. I'd be interested to see a video on the differences between what chriropractors do and OMT

  11. I will say that I don't know any MDs that wish they were DOs, yet there are plenty of DOs that wish they had been able to get into an MD school. And all of the DOs I know hated learning about the culty pseudoscience that is OMM. Beyond that, there are excellent DOs and really terribly MDs. Find a doctor that cares about you and seems to know what they're doing and the whole MD/DO thing won't matter.
    One side note: you have to wonder why all of the best hospital systems (Harvard, Stanford, Hopkins, Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, etc) only have MD schools. The top-ranked DO school is at Michigan State. Not a bad system, but it's no MGH.

  12. Your presentation of osteopathy made it look like chiropractic. Osteopathy is quack medicine with no medical training outside the US. DOs have full medical training but it's that that lets them do medicine outside the US, osteopathy itself is almost universally considered quack medicine in the developed world outside the US.

    I'd still see a good DO, especially doctor Mike, over a bad MD, but I wouldn't bother with any osteopathy.

  13. As much as I like u Mike, any DOs, dentistry, pharmacists, or any PhD holders are FAKE doctors. Noone cares about you inferiors once they realise your TRUE profession behind that DR title. #MDforLIFE

  14. what are your thoughts on craniosacral therapy? as a person who can’t tolerate regular chiropractic work (i’ve suffered nerve damage and spinal trauma after trying it three times and my body is currently under stress from diseases) i have started getting it, and it’s interesting for sure, but i’d like to know what you think the benefits are.

  15. I will never trust another person enough to let them snap my neck like that. The survival instincts are too strong. Might as well be trying to shoot an apple off my head with an arrow. Nope.

  16. My new primary care doctor is a D.O., and so far I really like them! Our first appoint was very long but I felt a lot more listened to than at my old pediatric doctor.

  17. Out of curiousity, how long ago did you stop accepting new patients? 😉 I can only imagine that you are in high demand. After this video I am going to look into getting a DO as my PCP.

  18. You don’t have to score nearly as high on the MCAT to be a DO.
    MDs match into competitive specialties at higher rates than DOs.
    Can’t argue with numbers.

  19. I love your vids Doctor Mike but I admit I would still prefer to be treated by an M.D. I find it hard to trust D.O.'s because the scientific evidence for their methods is sparse…Osteopaths use of craniosacral therapy can be dangerous and has overstated benefits. In my country, Osteopaths are just glorified Chiropractors and can't practice medicine as they're not medical professionals, no doubt osteopaths in the U.S. receive more medical training but the reliance on some unscientific methods and practices is alarming.

    I'm not saying that all D.O's are inferior but their school is based on woo, so you're going to get a wider range between crazy and helpful medical professionals. The only solution is for the U.S. to catch up to the rest of the developed world by grandfathering D.O's into M.D's.

  20. I love watching Dr. Mike videos but as smart as you are PLEASE stop saying "less" when you should be saying "fewer"! <3 thanks!

  21. This one made me a little said. I generally see Dr. Mike as a very well rounded, research and data driven doctor. But osteopathy has just that touch of pseudoscience that makes it a little worse. Some treatment with no evidence to back it up. The term holistic sounds good, and I agree with the theory, but it often means "We'll just add in stuff that we're not sure works, just to be safe". Homeopathy, for example, is often included in "Holistic" style treatments, and if there was one thing that I'm certain is medical bunk, it's homeopathy. Adding stuff with no proven efficacy does not make it better.

  22. Let me answer this for everyone since you continue to fail at this…the difference between a DO and an MD is that almost 99% of the time the MD graduates did better in undergrad to be able to be accepted to the MD school. This is the truth and ask your own doctor if you want (or just google average MCAT and GPA numbers). The DO path is sort of a "back up" for most undergraduate applicants and there are tons of DO schools that just pop up all over (even the Caribbean) that seem to just want to make money. While DOs can theoretically go into any specialty in medicine (more competitive are extremely difficult), if you look at the most of them, they are limited to things like Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and things that aren't competitive at all. Primary care is very important and I'm glad there are people that do it, including DOs. Chances are however, f you have seasonal allergies or high blood pressure you might see a DO in the clinic, but after something like a bad car wreck or brain bleed when your life is on the line, you'd be wheeled into a hospital's trauma bay and met by surgeons who are going to be MDs.

  23. Hi Dr. Mike, would you be able to make a video addressing the difference between OMT and chiropractic manipulations? I have always been wary of both as I have seen a few people come into the trauma hospital I work at with permanent neurological or spinal damage following chiropractic manipulation, or family members of someone who died from multiple brain herniations, and I wanted to know how OMT could be different/safer. Thanks!

  24. My dad is a DO, he'll be 103 in March 2020. I see no reason why he won't make it. Then my MOM will be 103 in June 2020. I'll be 71 later this month. I look about 20-25 years younger than my age, based on the fact that I have never changed from my mostly vegan diet, no oil, no milk, no fast foods (other than once every 3 months cheeseburger), no drugs not even in the hospital after I got run over by a car in early 2017 much the extreme ANNOYANCE of the 'doctors' who did NOT like that I said I would handle the pain by relaxation techniques, etc. even after I did it. I don't drink anything but water & occasionally lemonade w/o sugar or other sweeteners and some decaf tea or chamomile. I work out a LOT on my TotalGym, walk 3.5 miles soundtrip to the gym where I work out on the bike 40 minutes, the handbike 10 minutes then swim 1000-2000 meters. You can verify how young I look by my profile picture on twitter @geekiestwoman Wel it's past my bedtime so a hui hou!

  25. Interesting, I’ve seen quite a few DOs, and not a single one has ever done any adjustments on me. In fact, two told me chiropractors are quacks. (I’ve found a good chiropractor can work wonders.) As you concluded, the main thing is to find a physician you trust and who listens and communicates well.

  26. I heard that chiropractic treatment increases vertebral artery dissection. Doctor Mike could you give more insight on this as I'm considering seeing a chiropractor.

  27. Chiropractics is bologna. It's a great was to injure your vertebral artery though, and cause strokes in otherwise healthy patients…

  28. That patient (or maybe model idk what she is) legit look like dolls doctors use for demo i trip when she talk

  29. Great video, Dr Mike! I'm considering sharing this with my Pre-SOMA club members on our first meeting next week

  30. For those who are considering DO school vs MD school, what has your experience as a doctor with an DO degree? Is there a stigma about it after school?

  31. So, the difference between the MDs and the DOs is that the DOs, in addition to medicine, practices pseudoscience. Interesting. :v

  32. WOW hold up; OMT sounds suspiciously like the pseudoscience of chiropractic…. Quacking or cracking? Is Dr. Mike ducking around or just utilizing placebo to his patient's benefit? It's hard to imagine people following this practice as being accepted as a medical authority.

  33. I want to become either a Oncologist or a surgical Oncologist can you do a video on oncology or the route to become one?

  34. Thanks for the explanation Dr. Mike. My husband and I have been seeing a DO for the past 18 years. Wonderful physician. Concern for whole patient (physical and mental) and good preventative care. He also doesn’t send us off to a specialist for every little thing. If he can and is qualified to take care of a problem, he does. I am confident that when I leave his office that I have the right diagnosis.

  35. But there's no actual peer reviewed scientific evidence that osteopathy works… So DOs are bascially MDs who also practiced some pseudoscience..

  36. So my allopathic ("MD") Dr. asked me if I'm taking anything new.. I told him I've been experiencing lots of very painful cramps..-So I started taking a magnesium supplement regularly, has completely stopped the cramping. My allopathic Dr. ignored the info., and moved on to next question.. (He didn't ask how much magnesium I was taking, etc.).. This kind of no-response/info-ignored situation also occurred when I told my allopathic MD that I have arthritis, and it doesn't bother me, since I take a glucosamine supplement regularly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *