3 June 2015
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Finchley Osteopath FAQ: Whats The Difference Between An Osteopath and a Chiropractor

What are the difference between and osteopath and a chiropractor? Well this is one of the most common questions that I get asked as an osteopath in practice and I get it asked almost every day. I can guarantee that almost every single one of my patients has asked me this at some point during their treatments. So I thought I would put it into a video and let you guys know. We are going to talk about three
main differences today;

  • The philosophy
  • The assessment
  • The treatment

1. The philosophy. Chiropractors believe a problem in the body is a result of a dysfunction in the spine. When you look at the anatomy of the spine you have the spine, you have the spinal canal and in that spinal canal you have got the spinal cord. Coming out of the spine you’ve got nerve roots and those nerve roots form into nerves. Those nerves supply organs, muscles, joints and even things like the skin. If the spine is not working properly and one of the joints is compressing a nerve root that is going to affect the signals going to those structures that it is supplying and therefore it’s going to result in less function. So by correcting this subluxation you are going to restore this natural function of that structure. Osteopaths on the other hand believe that a problem can result from dysfunction anywhere in the body. If you have pain that is going to change the way you move and the way you function and that is going to cause problems not only in that place but problems elsewhere. The theory is that let’s say you have a problem in your knee you are going to change the way you walk which is going to change the mechanics of the hip and therefore the spine, that is going to affect the muscles, the tightness around the spine and that is going to affect structures higher up and that could even result in something like a headache. So osteopaths tend to look a little bit more globally.

2. Now when it comes to. The assessment, chiropractors often use, not always, but often use x-rays, or some other form of imaging or diagnostic equipment. In their first session you will often have this assessment done with x-rays for example, they will bring you back in on your second time, they will go through your results and tell you their treatment plan. Then on the third time you come back in they are going to give you treatment. Osteopaths on the other hand will usually assess you and treat you on that first session. Now the way that we work as osteopaths is we will have a look at you standing first of all, we will get you moving, see where any restrictions may be, then we will have a look and a feel on all the muscles and joints, see how they are moving, perform special orthopedic tests, try to see if we can provoke the problem so we can work out exactly what is going on, just by using our hands and our eyes and then at the end of that assessment we will treat you.

3. The treatments. Chiropractic treatments tend to be quite short around about fifteen minutes. Chiropractors are more, well known for their adjustments. Adjustments are the “clicking” of necks and backs. That is what chiropractors tend to do; necks, upper backs, lower backs. Osteopaths tend to do more of the whole body so we treat more globally, a lot more massage work and our theory is that if you can loosen up the muscles and relax the muscles that when it comes to adjusting those joints it is going to be a little bit less aggressive on the body so you will have less of a treatment reaction.

Ultimately though it does not matter who you see whether it is a chiropractor or an osteopath as long as you feel comfortable with that practitioner and you like the way their treatment style is. If you do not feel comfortable during your treatments, you are not going to feel relaxed and you are not going to get better as quick. So find a practitioner that you like rather than the therapy. If you guys have got any further questions please drop it in the comments section below and we will see you guys very soon.

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