An internal medicine provider is generally your point of first contact in a healthcare setting. Ideally, you’ll see your internist at least once a year for an annual exam or whenever minor injuries and illnesses crop up. One of the primary benefits of having an internal medicine provider is that they can take a comprehensive approach to your healthcare.
Patients like it when doctors take a global approach to their healthcare. That, in part, helps explain the rising popularity of doctors of osteopathy as internists. That’s because the central tenet of osteopathic medicine is a whole-person approach. For osteopathic doctors, healthcare involves looking beyond symptoms and understanding the patient in terms of mind, body, and spirit.
Osteopathic medicine isn’t new in the United States–but it is quickly growing. More than 25% of all current medicine students are taking the osteopathic approach. This means patients have an opportunity to see an internist who takes a whole-body approach to their healthcare needs.
What is an Osteopathic Doctor?
An osteopathic doctor, or DO, is a lot like a Doctor of Medicine (or MD). Both require years of study and are strictly regulated by licensing bodies. The primary difference is that DOs proceed under a slightly different philosophy than medical doctors.
You can think about it like this: an MD will learn how every system in the body works. Typically, these are studied as separate pieces, and MDs will often specialize in a specific area of medicine. A DO, however, will examine how every system in the body works together and practice medicine accordingly.
Osteopathic medicine is guided by the philosophy that every aspect of your body is interrelated. As a result, osteopathic physicians take a whole person approach–including accounting for the connection between mind, body, and spirit.
The Four Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine
Osteopathic medicine is guided by four core tents:
- Every person’s body is a unit composed of the body, mind, and spirit.
- Bodies are generally able to regulate themselves, heal themselves, and provide health maintenance.
- The best possible treatments are based on a whole body approach that honors the basic principles of body unity.
- Structure is interrelated with function (and function is interrelated with structure).
This whole-body approach allows a DO to more fully understand the totality of your healthcare and offer cohesive treatment options. In most cases, you will be able to form a long lasting patient-physician relationship with your osteopathic internal medicine provider, which means they’ll have a more robust understanding of your unique healthcare needs.
Osteopathic Medicine at YMC
At Yankton Medical Clinic, Dr. Amanda Sedlacek provides osteopathic care to all of her internal medicine patients. Patients who see Dr. Sedlacek are able to take comfort in her approach and feel seen and listened to.
The benefits of seeing Dr. Sedlacek include the following:
- Dr. Sedlacek can look beyond the symptoms of your conditions–also discussing environmental or lifestyle factors that may be impacting your health. Your visit isn’t just about your runny nose, it’s about what you’re eating, how stressed you are, and so on.
- Osteopathic physicians can help you practice preventive care. With Dr. Sedlacek, you can schedule a preventative appointment to get ahead of your healthcare needs (these can often occur during your annual wellness exam).
- An osteopathic doctor can provide hands-on treatment of muscle issues, joint pain, back strain, and more. This is called manual medicine, and it’s one of the types of treatment osteopaths are trained to provide.
Your Doctor for Life!
As you visit your doctor time and again, your primary care provider will begin to better understand your particular and specific healthcare needs. The best time to start forming this healthcare partnership is right now!
When you visit your osteopathic doctor on a regular basis, they will be better able to:
- Detect changes in your overall health and wellness more quickly
- Create better lifestyle and exercise plans that work for your goals and your habits.
- Help you build and maintain a lifestyle that can fight and prevent illness (in a way that’s realistic for you).
In this way, we often talk about an osteopathic doctor as being a doctor for life. In part, we mean that you and your doctor will likely see each other routinely over the course of years (and maybe even decades).
But we also mean that your osteopathic doctor can help you live your life as fully as possible! So contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Amanda Sedlacek as your internist. And start learning why a whole-body approach can make a whole person healthy!