What is the Difference between Osteopathy and Chiropractic?


What is the Difference between Osteopathy and Chiropractic?

What comes to mind when you hear osteopathy or chiropractic could be very different from the reality. One of the biggest differences is that chiropractic mainly focuses on spine and joints, and to the muscles to some extent. On the other hand, osteopathy takes a larger area. Although the two are similar to some aspects, there are slight differences between the two.

What is Osteopathy?

This is a branch of alternative medical practice that uses massages and other physical stimulations of muscles and joints. Medical experts who use osteopathy are known as osteopaths.  

What is Chiropractic?

Unlike osteopathy, chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that mostly focuses on diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders that affect the joints, particularly the spine. Chiropractic proponents allege that such disorders can impact the general health through the nervous system.

Similarities between Osteopathy and Chiropractic

  • The two have a common philosophy and history which made them unique from traditional allopathic medicine.
  • Their main objectives are to reduce pain and aches in the body.
  • Osteopathy and chiropractic addresses more than joints and muscles.
  • Both target the nervous system and blood vessels to impact on all the systems in the body. This enables them to treat various medical conditions including digestive disorders, circulatory issues, migraine, just to mention a few.
  • Both their practitioners use touch and observation when diagnosing a medical condition.

Differences between Osteopathy and Chiropractic

  • Chiropractic came 21 years after the discovery of osteopathy.
  • Chiropractic mainly targets the alignment of the spine as the primary way of alleviating pain while osteopathy focuses on the body as a whole.
  • Osteopathy addresses a wide range of functional issues, including digestive disorders and circulatory problems.
  • More diagnostic procedures like MRI scans, X-rays, and blood or urine tests are used in Chiropractic while osteopathy mainly focuses on physical examination. Osteopaths may refer patients for further diagnostic processes when the need arise.
  • Osteopathy uses a variety of techniques in trying to influence the body’s immune system like joint articulation, muscle and tissue stimulation. However, chiropractic uses a number of techniques to influence the realign the vertebra to enhance nerve transmission.  
  • In most cases, appointments with Chiropractors are shorter because they mainly focus adjustment techniques which don’t require much time. Nevertheless, Osteopaths tend to spend more time with their patients and treatments have to be spaced out over a longer period.
  • Unlike osteopathy, chiropractors book appointments with their patients more frequently.

Final Word

Universally, these are the common similarities and differences between osteopathy and chiropractic. However, their practitioners may treat differently and in some cases osteopaths may look like chiropractors and vice versa.

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