What’s an Osteopathic Physician (DO)?

Osteopathic Physicians, or DOs, are fully licensed physicians who practice every medical specialty.  These include everything from pediatrics to neurosurgery to cardiology.  DOs do have extra training in working with the musculoskeletal system, the body’s joints, muscles and bones. As part of this training, DOs learn to perform Osteopathic Manual Treatment.

What is Osteopathic Manual Treatment (OMT)?

Doctors who use OMT, such as Dr. Esmer, use their hands to apply gentle force to the joints and soft tissues in a therapeutic way.  The goal of OMT is to restore healthy motion to the body.  OMT is one of the primary tools used by physicians who specialize in Osteopathic Manual Medicine.

What is Osteopathic Manual Medicine (OMM)?

This is Dr. Esmer’s medical specialty.  While all DOs receive extensive musculoskeletal training, some DOs undergo additional residency training in the musculoskeletal system.  Dr. Esmer is board certified in Osteopathic Manual Medicine (OMM).  This specialty is also known as Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine.

Is Dr. Esmer a Primary Care Physcian?

No.  Dr. Esmer specializes in OMM.  

In addition to his training in OMM, Dr Esmer was the chief resident in his Family Medicine residency at the University of New England.  That said, he has not practiced primary care since completing his residency in 2006.

What’s a micro-practice?

Micro-practices keep overhead low to provide patients with longer visits, little to no wait times, and a more personal relationship with their physician.  One example is that Dr. Esmer will provide you with an iPad so you can check yourself in for your visit.  Dr. Esmer uses state-of-the-art electronic health record and practice-management software to reduce extra costs and simplify your patient experience.

What's up with the PDX?

PDX is a nickname for Portland.  It's also the airport code for Porland International Airport.

What’s the difference between an Osteopathic Physician and a Chiropractor?

Both Osteopathic Physicians and Chiropractors perform manipulation.  The manipulation they perform is somewhat different, though the larger difference lies in the overall depth and breadth of training.   Osteopathic Physicians undergo four years of medical school and three to ten years of residency training, where Chiropractors typically have a four-year degree.  Osteopathic Medicine is a comprehensive Western medical curriculum that trains DOs to perform surgery, prescribe medicine and practice without restriction in any medical specialty.  Chiropractors have a less comprehensive training and have a limited license.

What's the difference between a D.O. and an M.D.?

DOs and MDs are the only physicians who practice every medical specialty and can prescribe any medication.  Their credentials are unrestricted and equivalent.  DO's also learn OMT while MDs do not.

Does Dr. Esmer do cranial treatments?

Yes, frequently though not exclusively.

How did Osteopathic Medicine come about?

Osteopathic Medicine began in the late 19th century when common treatments included blood letting and dosing with toxic heavy metals.  The founder of Osteopathic Medicine, A.T. Still, believed that patients would be better served with less invasive approaches that let the body heal itself.  “The object of a physician is to find health, anyone can find disease.”  In time, medications and surgeries improved and Osteopathic Physicians have adopted their use, while maintaining caution regarding the risks.

Do you prescribe narcotics?

Very rarely, and not for prolonged periods of time.

For what insurance Companies is Dr. Esmer on the panel?

Please check with your insurance company to ensure benefit status with our clinic


Dr. Esmer is contracted with:



Coventry Health

Direct Health

First Choice Health

First Health Network

Great Northwest



MODA (Connexus, ODS Plus)

Pacific Source

      Legacy Plus Network

      BrightPath Network

      Preferred PSN Network

      Prime PSN Network


Providence Health Plan

United Health Care


Dr. Esmer is not contracted with:


Med Advantage



MODA (Beacon, Rose City, Synergy, Summit, Coordinated Care, Med Advantage, OHSU)




What do you mean by shared medical decision making?

The best decisions are made when scientific knowledge is combined with an understanding of the what the patient values.  Please see this link for more.