What are Differences Between Chiropractor and Osteopath

Some people choose to see a chiropractor or osteopath for their back pain. Both types of doctors believe that having a healthy spine is very important to the overall health and integrity of the entire body.

But there are some differences between chiropractors and osteopaths. The truth is that both chiropractors and osteopaths are excellent options for treating a wide variety of conditions. Ultimately, it becomes a personal preference.

Chiropractor and Osteopath


What are Chiropractors

The discipline of chiropractic care was founded in 1895. Chiropractors receive comprehensive education and training in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of disorders arising from the spine, pelvis, nervous system, and joints of the body. They use a hands-on, hands-on approach to treatment and assess the patient as a “whole” rather than a collection of individual parts.

Chiropractors are perhaps best known for spinal manipulative therapy (or spinal “adjustments”). They employ a wide variety of treatment techniques to meet the individual needs of each patient, such as:

  • Acupuncture for the reduction of pain, headache, or poor joint/muscle function.
  • Myofascial release (soft tissue therapy) to reduce muscle tightness and tension.
  • Graston Technique (Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Therapy) to reduce scar tissue buildup due to repetitive stress and improve tissue mobility.
  • Spinal manipulative therapy and joint mobilization techniques for the treatment of impaired joint mobility or pain associated with joint dysfunction.
  • Active rehabilitation programs and advice (eg, stretching, strengthening) to promote recovery and prevent future recurrence.
  • Concussion rehabilitation techniques to help with concussion recovery or treat symptoms of post-concussion syndrome.

What are osteopaths

Osteopathy was founded in the 1870s. It focuses on the relationship between the musculoskeletal system and overall health. Osteopaths also employ a hands-on approach to patient care. It is a safe and natural therapy that focuses on the structure of the body: the bones, ligaments, muscles, and connective tissues or fascia.

Osteopaths assess the condition of the musculoskeletal system by looking for areas of weakness, imbalance, or excessive tension. Any potential “weak spots” will determine how well the body functions and will have a direct influence on the overall health of the entire body.

Osteopaths are trained to discover the “root” of the problem, rather than just focusing on the region of pain. Osteopaths use a variety of treatment techniques including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Cupping therapy to aid circulation and reduce inflammation
  • Graston technique
  • Diet and nutrition recommendations to help speed recovery time
  • Joint mobilization and adjustments to improve joint range of motion
  • Craniosacral therapy to balance the nervous system
  • Active rehabilitation methods
  • Concussion Rehabilitation Techniques

Differences between Chiropractor and Osteopath

Chiropractors focus primarily on the alignment of the spine. They believe this relieves pain by preventing pinched nerves or any other compromise of the nervous system. Osteopaths, on the other hand, look more at the whole body and focus on its structure.

Osteopaths tend to treat a broader range of disorders, while most chiropractors focus on muscle and joint pain. This is one of the differences between chiropractor and osteopath.

Chiropractors often do tests like X-rays and MRIs. Some even have X-ray machines in their office. Osteopaths rely more on their own physical examination and generally refer patients if they believe further diagnostic procedures are required.

Another difference between chiropractors and osteopaths is that osteopaths usually use a greater variety of techniques to manipulate the body’s healing systems. They can do more muscle and soft tissue work or manipulate other joints in the body. Chiropractors primarily focus on adjustments to the vertebrae of the spine.

When it comes to appointment length, chiropractic visits tend to be shorter. They focus on fitting the patient and then walking out the door. Osteopaths are able to spend more time talking with their patients as they have a broader focus. This also means that chiropractors can see patients more frequently, while osteopaths extend their treatments further.

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