Osteopath vs Chiropractor
Chris Branch, owner of Forté Physical Health in Chelmsford, gives us his thoughts on osteopath vs chiropractor, the difference between osteopathy and chiropractic and who you should get to treat you.
Our patients often ask us, what is the difference between osteopathy and chiropractic? As our patients are asking this, we assume it’s a common question for people who are deciding what treatment to have, so we hope this article helps you to choose what’s best for you.
As with physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors diagnose and treat the same conditions. We are both regulated professions, which means that we have to comply with strict guidelines each year in order to practice. We both use hands-on treatment involving massage and manipulation, and we prescribe exercise and lifestyle advice to enhance recovery.
What is the difference between an osteopath and a chiropractor?
The first difference you may notice about osteopath vs chiropractor as a patient is that osteopaths use observation, palpation and special medical tests (involving movement or neurological tests) to help us diagnose a patient’s problem, whereas chiropractors will also commonly use X-ray.
It may seem that having more information with the X-ray is ‘better’, but the research (links found here: https://www.painscience.com/articles/mri-and-x-ray-almost-useless-for-back-pain.php) is becoming quite clear that in most cases, all an X-ray does is give you more to worry about. This can actually have a negative effect on your recovery because of something known as the ‘nocebo effect’. It’s like the ‘placebo effect’, which is where people get better when no actual treatment has been done, but the opposite. The nocebo effect makes people’s pain worse because of how they think about the problem.
There are some cases when an osteopath will refer for an X-ray or MRI when more information is needed, but this doesn’t happen too often and when it’s needed, we refer to orthopaedic specialists because there may be other ways they can help too.
Other differences between osteopaths and chiropractors come down to treatment style. Historically, chiropractors use more spinal manipulation than osteopaths, whereas osteopaths use manipulation sparingly alongside massage, stretching and exercise prescription. However, I know there are many chiropractors who are reducing the amount they manipulate now.
Osteopath or chiropractor – who should you get to treat you?
When it comes to osteopath vs chiropractor, in general, there are more similarities than there are differences and we always say that you need to find a therapist that works for you. Over time, we all develop our own style, and this makes each practitioner unique no matter what profession they are in.
At Forté, we believe we are great osteopaths and the 5-star testimonials we receive from our patients and on Google Reviews and Facebook back this up. We are told we have a warm, friendly and professional environment to help our patients in and we look forward to welcoming you here when you need our help.
Osteopath vs physio – find out more about the differences between osteopathy and physiotherapy