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What is a DO?

A doctor of Osteopathic Medicine use a unique whole-person holistic approach to medicine. Dr. Russell Bergum specializes in both Interventional Orthopedics & Regenerative Sports Medicine, but first and foremost, he is an Osteopathic physician.

The Difference of a DO

There are two types of fully licensed physicians in the U.S. – MD’s and DO’s. Osteopathic (DO) and Allopathic (MD) medical schools are both 4 years long including didactic lectures and clinical training, and afterwards, both types of physicians require post-graduate internship/residency in which DOs and MDs often train side by side. In medical school, DO’s also get an additional 400-500 hours of hands-on musculoskeletal training. Dr. Bergum completed Osteopathic medical school at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, followed by an Allopathic residency in Family Medicine at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, MN, where he also was chief resident. He then completed a sub-specialty fellowship in Sports Medicine at The Ohio State University, where he trained alongside MDs and DO’s.


Throughout medical school, on top of the same science courses and clinical rotations as MDs, DOs also have additional training in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT). OMT involves the hands-on diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal system, and includes manipulation treatments with some similarities to chiropractic, physical therapy and other manual therapy techniques. As you can imagine, OMT is a valuable tool for a physician dealing with patients that have orthopedic injuries, not only from a therapeutic standpoint, but also from a diagnostic physical exam perspective.

Osteopathic Philosphy

Osteopathic physicians, or DOs, believe there’s more to good health than the absence of pain or disease. Their whole-person approach to medicine focuses on prevention, helping promote the body’s natural tendency toward health and self-healing. From day 1 of medical school, DOs are ingrained with a fundamental philosophy called the Osteopathic Tenets:

  • The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.
  • The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.
  • Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
  • Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.

Benefits of Osteopathic Care

Osteopathic medicine can provide all of the benefits of modern medicine such as prescription drugs, and surgery and also has the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of holistic treatment known as osteopathic manipulative medicine While the idea of treating the whole body as a unit is what first captivated Dr. Bergum with Osteopathic medicine, the tenet that structure & function are interrelated is fundamental in his practice as a Sports Medicine physician. The Osteopathic concept that the body is capable of self-healing resonates with the practice of Regenerative Medicine.