Medical doctors, or physicians, are highly trained healthcare professionals who perform medical examinations, diagnose illnesses, prescribe drugs, and treat patients suffering from injury or disease using a variety of techniques.There are five primary fields in medicine: Allopathic, Chiropractic, Naturopathic, Osteopathic, and Podiatric, all of which diagnose and treat disease.
Allopathic physicians (MDs, or Doctors of Medicine) focus on diagnosing and treating disease; treatments include prescription medication and surgery. Allopathic medicine offers both primary care and a large number of specializations, but many MDs specialize.
Osteopathic physicians (DOs, or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine) focus on diagnosing and treating disease with an emphasis on primary care, holistic evaluation, and the prevention of diseases. DOs receive training in the manipulation of the musculoskeletal structure, also known as osteopathic manipulative medicine, or OMM, in addition to the core medical training. The scope of practice for MDs and DOs is very similar.
Chiropractic physicians (DCs, or Doctors of Chiropractic) focus on the promotion of health through the alignment of the musculoskeletal structure. DCs do not use invasive procedures such as surgery.
Naturopathic physicians (NDs, or Doctors of Naturopathic Medicine) focus on maintaining physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness through lifestyle choices and natural remedies such as acupuncture, reflexology, and homeopathy. NDs do not use invasive procedures such as surgery.
Podiatric physicians (DPMs, or Doctors of Podiatric Medicine) focus on the diagnosis and treatment of issues, conditions and diseases concerning the foot and ankle. Podiatric medicine is an early specialization of allopathic medicine and includes the prescription of medications and surgery.