AT Still MD, DO
Osteopathic Medicine was founded by Andrew Taylor Still MD in the late 19th century. AT Still MD was a veteran of the civil war, serving both as a hospital steward and an officer in the Kansas militia. After the war, while practicing medicine on the frontier in Kansas, several members of his family became sick with spinal meningitis. Despite the best efforts with then current medical treatments, three of his children died. He had also lost his first wife in childbirth and another daughter of his second wife to pneumonia. These events, as well as his experiences while serving in the Civil War, led him to reject the healing methods of his time and to begin searching for better methods of healthcare.
He began by extensively studying the structure of the human body and how it functions. He came to realize that dysfunctions in the body's physical structures, such as the bones and muscles, caused abnormal motion within the body's fluids, blood and nerves. This abnormal motion could then lead to the body's systems and organs to work improperly. Ultimately, he found that this altered functioning led to disease and ill health. He devised a method of treatment where he would manipulate the body's physical structure to improve its function. This, ultimately, would lead to improved health.
As is the case any time a new idea challenges the status quo, Dr. Still faced significant opposition to his theories. Hoping to find greater acceptance, he moved to Kirksville, MO in 1875. After opening a office there, he slowly gained a reputation as being able to cure many cases others had deemed as hopeless. "Osteopathy" was officially named in 1885. Eventually, with more patients than he could handle and wanting to teach others his philosophy and techniques, he opened the American School of Osteopathy (ASO) in 1892. The first class consisted of five women and 16 men.
While surviving many challenges over the last century, the osteopathic profession is now thriving. There are 25 colleges of osteopathic medicine in the US and over 55,000 practicing osteopathic physicians. Osteopathic physicians (DO's) in the US are fully licensed to practice in all areas of medical care. They can evaluate and diagnose medical problems, prescribe medications and preform surgery with equal rights as their allopathic (MD) counterparts. Osteopathic medicine is also practiced worldwide including many other areas of the world, including many countries in Europe, Asia, as well as Canada and Australia.
Osteopathic Treatment Philosophy
1. Structure and function are interrelated - neither structure nor function can be optimal if the other is deranged.
2. The body is a single dynamic unit of function - consisting of body, mind and spirit.
3. The body possesses self-regulatory and self-healing mechanisms.
4. Rational treatment is guided by these principles.
The goal of an Osteopathic treatment is to find and correct any restrictions in the body's tissues that are preventing the proper function of the body. Put simply, the body should be returned to a state where it can function the way it was designed to.
What Problems Are Most Commonly Treated?