What is the Difference Between Chiropractic and Osteopathy?
Are you suffering from chronic back pain? You certainly aren’t alone. Almost 65 million Americans suffer from some form of back pain. But who do you see to treat it?
If you have ever suffered from back pain and stumbled across both chiropractor and osteopath services, you might not know which to choose. How do you know which one to choose when you find out about chiropractic treatments or osteopathy while searching for pain relief alternatives? For more information, you can consult places like SnapCrack.
What is a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor is a trained musculoskeletal health expert focusing on the proper alignment of the spine and other joints. Although they are not medical doctors per se, they undergo extensive medical training. To become a chiropractor, one needs to attend seven years of focused schooling (an undergraduate degree followed by four years of chiropractic training) and get special credentials and a state license. Only then can they become a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine.
At first glance, chiropractors seem to focus on the spine’s proper alignment, but they treat the body as a single organism. Therefore, they can perform different types of adjustments to treat a wide variety of conditions, including:
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Lower back pain
- Sports injuries
- Neck pain
- Arthritis pain
- Automobile accident injuries
Chiropractors aim to stabilize joints, reduce pain, and maintain a patient’s health without prescriptions or surgery.
Compared to a chiropractor, an osteopath is a doctor focusing mainly on the physical manipulation of the tissues, bones, and muscles. They follow about the same path as a traditional medical doctor, starting with pre-med classes, four years of medical school, and three to seven years of residency. However, rather than becoming a Doctor of Medicine, they opt for Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine. By doing so, they can prescribe medications and referrals for surgical procedures if necessary. American-trained osteopaths have full medical practice rights in the United States and 44 countries worldwide.
Osteopaths are more likely to have a heavier focus on the musculoskeletal system.
There are two main differences between chiropractors and osteopaths. The first one is the degree they hold. While a chiropractor holds a Doctorate of Chiropractic degree and cannot prescribe medication, an osteopath has the same medical rights as a doctor and can write prescriptions.
Another significant difference is the type of treatment they use. Chiropractors use chiropractic alignments to correct misalignments of the joints. Their therapies can vary depending on the chiropractor. The most common chiropractic treatments include:
- Spinal traction
- Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation
- Therapeutic stretching and exercise
- Diet/nutritional counseling
- Manual soft-tissue therapies (instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization)
- Lifestyle recommendations
On the other hand, osteopaths use manipulative treatments to soften the tissue through massage and stretching. They are also known for working holistically, meaning that they search for the factors that led to the symptoms of your pain or pinched nerve. Their treatments are usually done by hand to prevent injuries, treat problems, or reduce the risk of re-injuring yourself. It is common for an osteopath to move your joints or muscles by adding gentle pressure on the area to make the muscles work and resist.
Osteopaths are more likely to use massage to relax muscle tension and stretch stiff joints and muscles. Because they use manual pressure, osteopaths can:
- Treat tissue and structural abnormalities
- Restore tissue and muscle balance
- Improve blood flow
- Relieve joint misalignment and restriction
If you are wondering how to choose between a chiropractor or osteopath, you should consider your current needs. Both chiropractors and osteopaths avoid recommending medication or surgery but believe in the ability of the body to heal itself.
If you have been in an accident and experienced pain in your lower back, a chiropractor may be the ideal choice. Similarly, if you suffer from leg pain, back pain, or neck pain, it is advised to seek medical care from a chiropractor to relieve the pain.
Conversely, if you are dealing with a common cold, digestion issues, or even infertility, an osteopath can address your medical problems. They might refer you for additional testing in conjunction with their holistic approach. You can consult both specialists and check who comes up with the more viable solution to your medical issue.
See the Right Professional to Deal with Back Pain
Regardless of whether you are seeking medical care from a chiropractor or osteopath, you can always look for recommendations from family or friends. You can also use the internet to read reviews or search for a particular chiropractor or osteopath to ask what methods or techniques they use.
The best advice is to consult with your regular doctor first to get their recommendation on how you should proceed.