Should I Use an Osteopath or Chiropractor?

What's the difference between Osteopathy and Chiropractor?

What's the difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?

These are very common questions asked by patients when considering treatment options, the similar nature of both professions can understandably lead to confusion, in fact both disciplines are recognised as primary health care professions, and both professions are derived from very similar schools of thought, however there are significant differences between the approach to patient treatment.

Both Osteopathy and Chiropractic treatments incorporate orthopaedic and neurological examination to diagnose injury and illness and often prescribe similar exercises and self-care strategies to help patients manage their pain or injury. The differences between the two professions are substantial ranging from the underlying philosophy behind the various treatments, to specific techniques used to treat pain and where on the body in relation to the pain those treatmets are applied.

The Chiropractic Approach

Broadly speaking, chiropractors aim to correct illness and injury by restoring the body's ability to heal itself through a healthy nervous system. Chiropractors are generally quite spine-orientated and will tend to aim to achieve a healthy nervous system predominantly by applying manipulations (“cracks”) to the spine and giving patients corrective exercises to perform. After an initial consultation, a course of follow up sessions may be arranged which generally last 10 minutes.

The Osteopathic Approach

Osteopaths typically place more emphasis on muscles, joints and the mobility of spinal segments rather than specifically on the spine and the nervous system. The inter-relationships between all areas and tissues of the body are considered when devising treatment and management plans, a truly ‘holistic’ approach. Osteopaths, in a sense, work with a mixture of chiropractic and physiotherapy techniques in their treatments, applying similar manipulations to the spine and other joints as Chiropractors, but also apply soft tissue therapy similar to physiotherapists, such as massage, gentle joint articulation and rehabilitation exercise prescription. Osteopaths may also incorporate visceral osteopathic techniques and cranial osteopathy techniques into treatments. For this reason, osteopathic treatment times tend to be longer than chiropractic treatments, ranging between 30 minutes to an hour.

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