‘What is the difference between osteopaths and chiropractors?’
This is one of the questions most often asked by patients. There are many similarities between the two professions as much as there are subtle differences between osteopathy and chiropractic approaches.
However, osteopaths and chiropractics may see cases differently and may find each other’s diagnosis contentious.
The similarities and differences below are generalisations as all practitioners of both professions work differently. It may seem some osteopaths work closer to the chiropractic way and some chiropractors may appear to work more like osteopaths.
- Both share a common history and philosophy which set them apart from the more traditional medicine.
- Both treat more than just bone joints and soft tissues in the pursuit of relieving aches and pains in the body..
- Both work on the nervous system and blood supply in order to influence all the bodily systems. This makes them capable of alleviating the symptoms of many diagnosed medical conditions such as circulatory problems, digestive disorders and migraine prevention to name a few.
- Both osteopaths and chiropractors use observation and touch to diagnose.
- Osteopaths tend to treat a broader range of functional problems, including issues such as circulatory and digestive system disorders.
- Osteopaths look at the body as a whole and help improve its function by correcting the overall structure.
- Osteopaths tend to use a greater variety of techniques to influence the body’s own innate healing system such as muscle and soft tissue work, joint articulation and manipulation.
- Osteopaths spend more time with their patients per visit as their approach is broader and treatments tend to be spaced out over a longer period of time.
- Chiropractors tend to focus mainly (but not exclusively) on the alignment of the spine as the primary means to relieve pain by preventing any compromise of the nervous system,
- Chiropractors use more diagnostic procedures such as X-rays, MRI scans, blood tests and urine tests, whereas osteopaths place more emphasis on physical examination, and will generally refer patients on for more diagnostic procedures if required.
- Chiropractors use a wider number of techniques for the “adjustment” on the vertebrae, similar to osteopathic manipulation, to facilitate optimal nerve transition.
- Chiropractic appointments tend to be shorter (in most cases) as they primarily focus on adjustment techniques which are quicker to carry out and they tend to see patients more frequently.