Difference between an osteopath and a chiropractor

When searching for someone to treat their discomfort, most people think of either a chiropractor or an osteopath. But what’s the difference between the two?  Chiropractors place a greater emphasis on your spine, making sure that it’s in the correct alignment. However, osteopaths will focus on the muscles and nerves, taking a more holistic view of your health. 

At first glance, chiropractors and osteopaths can be very similar. But the more you know about their practices and beliefs, the more different they become. Let’s take a closer look at this area, so you’ll know which one you should visit. 


What is an Osteopath?

Let’s start by looking at the functions performed by each professional. An osteopath will take a holistic approach to your health. They believe that all parts of our bodies are connected. As a result, massaging one part of your body will be enough to ease the pain. This technique will start the self-healing process. As a result, they will work across multiple parts of the body to ease the pain that their patients are experiencing. 


What Is a Chiropractor? 

Chiropractors are experts that focus on the way that your spine can impact the rest of the body. If your spine is out of alignment, this can impact your nerves. This issue is often the cause of any pain that you might be experiencing. By placing the spine back into the correct alignment, chiropractors can reduce the amount of pain that their patients are experiencing. 


The Difference Between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor

We can now look at some of the most significant differences between an osteopath and a chiropractor. First, there is a significant difference in the way that they approach the pain relief process. As we mentioned, the osteopath takes a more whole-body approach. This approach can include making recommendations about the type of diet that you should be eating. On the other hand, a chiropractor will focus primarily on the spine

Another significant difference is how long it takes you to be treated for pain. Typically, chiropractic treatment will be shorter. This solution can take a few weeks, depending on how misaligned your spine is. However, if you were going to see an osteopath, it would take longer for you to get the treatment you need. It might take months before your treatment is over. 

Third, there is a difference in the way that patients are diagnosed and treated. Many chiropractors tend to rely on X-rays. This option allows them to get a clear picture of the way the spine is curved. This technique allows them to predict the type of treatment they will need to conduct. On the other hand, an osteopath will focus on performing a physical examination of the body. They will also ask a lot more questions about the patient. If they feel that more advanced tests need to be performed, they will refer the patient to someone else. 


What Are the Similarities?

As we’ve seen, there are many differences between chiropractors and osteopaths. However, there are also many similarities between them. First, they share a similar philosophy. They believe that your spine can have a significant influence on your overall health. Because of this, massaging or adjusting the spine will help relieve the pain you are experiencing. They will also help you improve your blood flow around the body. 

Though they might use different techniques, they both want to help people get rid of their back or muscle pain. Also, both will customize the treatment to suit the individual patient. This solution will make sure that they are delivering the best possible results. 


What Treatments Does Each Perform?

Let’s look at the specific functions that a chiropractor and osteopath might perform. A chiropractor is designed to help you adjust your back. They work on putting your spine back into the correct alignment. As a result, they will often start by taking X-rays of your spine. This procedure lets them check on the current alignment. Then, they will work on massaging your spine back into the correct position. 

This process could involve a chiropractic adjustment, where they put pressure onto your back, pushing your spine. In this case, you’ll hear a few pops. But you shouldn’t feel any pain. They might also use some tools. For example, they can use lasers to stimulate blood flow. In other cases, they will use a tool called an Activator Adjusting Instrument. This procedure delivers a sharp jolt to the joint, relieving the pain and improving its functionality. Over multiple sessions, this will allow them to put the spine back into alignment, eliminating the pain you are experiencing. 

This approach is different from the way that an osteopath works. First, they will ask you multiple questions, which gives them a better idea of your general health and diet. Then, they will focus on finding the source of the pain. Once they know what might be causing the pain, they can start the treatment. In many cases, they will use a massage. Unlike the chiropractor, they can massage all parts of the body. 

There are several types of osteopathy. Often, the one that is used will depend on your age and the type of pain you are experiencing. For example, babies and small children might get cranial osteopathy. In this case, they will receive a gentle head massage. In other cases, they will use visceral osteopathy which focuses on the organs. These massages will allow you to get better movements in your joints. 


Osteopath or Chiropractor, to Treat Back Pain?

Hopefully, you have a better knowledge of what chiropractors and osteopaths are and how they work. But which one should you pick the next time you have back pain? Ultimately, this will be a personal decision. They both offer pain relief; they work in a slightly different way. But there are some things that you can consider when making your choice. 

First, it’s crucial to think about the type of pain of which you’re concerned. If the pain is isolated in your back and spine, it might be best to see a chiropractor. However, if it encompasses other joints, you might want to consider talking to an osteopath. Also, if you feel that the pain is linked to a more complex health problem, you might want to consider talking to an osteopath. 

Another good way to make the right choice is by talking to both. During the consultation, talk about the type of back pain that you are experiencing. They might want to do a brief examination or take some X-rays. Then, ask them to outline what the treatment will be. Listen to both approaches and pick the one that you think will do you the best. 



When you develop back or joint pain, it’s essential to get it treated. The longer the pain continues, the worse it will become, until it has a significant impact on your life. Thankfully, there are treatment options for you to explore. The most popular options are chiropractors and osteopaths. As we’ve seen, they use different approaches to treating the problem. However, they can both offer you an effective way of relieving your back pain. So, pick the method that most appeals to you and find significant pain relief today.  

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