You are suffering from back pain, maybe shoulder or knee pain, what do you do? Do you visit a Chiropractor? Do you find your local Osteopath? This article aims to help you learn the difference between a Chiropractor and an Osteopath.
There are similarities between Osteopaths and Chiropractors, there are also fundamental differences. Both believe in the importance of a healthy spine, and the importance of the overall health and integrity of the entire system.
Before you choose to visit your local Chiropractor or find your local Osteopath, it’s important to understand the differences as well, treatments and approaches between the two are very different and understanding what they are may help your choice.
What are Chiropractors?
Chiropractic treatment began back in 1895, with the work of Daniel David Palmer, who practiced using spine adjustment treatments. Chiropractors focus on paying attention to biomechanics, believing the structure of the spine, and how well it functions, affects the musculoskeletal and neurological system.
Chiropractors use manual therapy to normalize joint functionality, maybe helping patients recovering from injury. Chiropractic approaches are based around a belief in spinal alignment enabling the body to heal itself.
In order to become a registered Chiropractor, a practitioner will need to have completed a relevant degree and be registered with the General Chiropractic Council. Always ensure that you visit a registered practitioner if you choose to visit a Chiropractor.
What are Osteopaths?
Osteopathy as a form of healthcare began in the late 19th Century, centered on the work by Andrew Taylor Still. A.T. Still was passionate about promoting therapy focussed allowing the body to restore itself to optimum health with a minimum interjection from surgery and medicine. He worked towards allowing the whole body to work together harmoniously without (at the time) potential harmful and ineffective medical practices.
Osteopaths in the UK undertake rigorous training, with new practitioners now expected to follow a four or five-year degree, including significant clinical practice. Osteopaths are trained in anatomy, biomechanics, physiology to allow them to understand the workings of the body.
All Osteopaths are registered with the General Osteopathic Council and are not allowed to practice as an Osteopath without this registration.
What are the Similarities between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?
Many people ask what the difference is between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor. This indeed is because they both share some similarities. Spinal health is important to both, along with an appreciation of how spinal health can influence your health overall.
Joint manipulation, muscle massage, and tissue massage are techniques used by both an Osteopath and a Chiropractor, working towards an optimization of the body, nervous system, and improved blood flow.
Although the main reason for visiting your practitioner may be to relieve symptoms of a specific ailment, your Chiropractor or Osteopath may help you with other underlying issues affecting your body. Treatment may also be aimed at helping with circulation, digestion or headaches.
What are the differences between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?
Based on what we’ve read, is there any difference? Does it matter which you should see? Well, let’s look at some differences…
Chiropractors aim to help with symptoms such as a pinched nerve, or other issues with the nervous system. They aim to help with specific treatments and manipulations based on an alignment of the spine. Chiropractors tend to be specifically focussed on treating muscle and joint pains, with a focus on adjustments to the vertebrae of the spine.
Osteopaths aim to treat the body as a whole, looking at the structure of the body and the interdependence throughout the body. Through this approach, an Osteopath will be able to treat a broader range of problems. An Osteopath will utilise a wider range of techniques to manipulate the body and will incorporate soft tissue and muscle manipulation in their approach.
Treatment from a Chiropractor will be relatively short, you may attend a session for a short treatment, which is likely to involve a specific adjustment, and then it’s all over until the next time. Your Osteopath will spend a longer amount of time with you, understanding your overall health and medical history. Osteopathic treatment will last much longer and may be spread out over a longer period of time.
Which is best for you? Should you visit a Chiropractor or an Osteopath?
Hopefully, this post has helped you understand a little more about the differences between a Chiropractor and an Osteopath. Your own understanding of your symptoms or condition will hopefully help you make a decision. Maybe you need to consider how complicated your problem is? Do you have trouble with other joints and tissues?