What's the difference between a Chiropractor and an Osteopath?
Chiropractors and osteopaths are frequently confused with one another – which is not surprising given that they do indeed share numerous similarities. Deciding which professional is right for you is a matter of understanding what each offer and how they may be able to help you.
Chiropractors and Osteopaths – The Similarities
• Osteopaths and chiropractors often employ relatively similar techniques.
• Both fields aim to soothe aches, pains and correct muscle and joint disorders.
• Both forms of treatment go beyond simply focusing on joints and tissue – to consider the nervous and circulatory systems and the ways in which they impact the body.
• Chiropractors and osteopaths can both treat and diagnose conditions; in diagnosis, they employ observation of the body as well as a fine sense of touch.
• The fields of chiropractic and osteopathy can be said to have similar backgrounds and an ethos that means both are considered separate from ‘traditional’ medicine.
• Both osteopaths and chiropractors are highly trained to undergraduate level.
• Both an osteopath and a chiropractor offer rehabilitative treatments, and extend their service beyond the treatment room with advice (in the case of the chiropractor this advice may specifically be related to posture, whilst osteopaths will provide guidance on nutrition, diet and lifestyle in a wider sense).
Chiropractors and Osteopaths – The Defining Differences
• Whilst chiropractors tend to focus on the spine, and its alignment, osteopaths instead consider the whole body – and aim to correct the whole structure of the body.
• Osteopaths can look after a wider range of issues – such as those that involve the respiratory or digestive systems.
• Chiropractors more frequently use x-rays, MRI scans, blood tests and urine tests – and whilst osteopaths also use these where necessary (especially during the diagnosis phase) osteopaths typically emphasise physical examinations, with the patient referred onwards where required.
• Osteopaths have a more diverse collection of methods and techniques; these focus on helping the body to heal itself, working on muscle, soft tissue and joints, and the ways in which they interact. On the other hand, chiropractors generally use adjustment techniques on the vertebra to assist the nerves.
• Chiropractors often use treatment aids such as blocks and adjustable treatment tables.
Choosing whether to see an Osteopath or a Chiropractor is a personal decision based on your symptoms and who you believe will be best suited to helping your pain.
If you’d like to find out how osteopathy can help you call us on 020 8316 5316 and we’ll let you know how we can help.