Osteopathy vs Chiropractic: What Are the Differences?

Nearly 83% of adults saw a healthcare professional in 2020. This highlights the importance of health and wellness!

When it comes to going to the doctor, trying to decide which one you need to visit can be confusing. With so many specialties and differences between providers, the last thing you want is to waste time in the wrong office.

When in pain, trying to decide between osteopathy vs chiropractic can be a challenge. Unsure which is best for you? Keep reading to learn the differences and help you on your journey to feeling your best.

What Is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is an emerging field, growing more popular by the day. Most osteopathic doctors work in other fields. They bring their background into their practice.

Considered an alternate form of medicine, these doctors will keep your lifestyle and other factors. They will keep your present symptoms in mind to determine the best course of action.

When you read an osteopathy guide, you’ll discover that your body works together to keep your whole being healthy. Your muscles, joints, ligaments, and tissues are all significant factors in their specialty.


Osteopathic doctors don’t have a specific focus beyond health, wellness, and pain management. From pediatrics to mental health professionals, they focus on treating the whole body to provide help.

Unlike other physical therapies, osteopaths work with their hands to work muscles and joints. Ensuring your entire body is balanced is the central focus of these doctors.


The treatment from an osteopathic doctor will vary based on what your symptoms are. For example, seeing a doctor for migraines will yield a different treatment plan than if you were going for a common cold.

As touched upon, osteopathy will examine your current lifestyle to get a better understanding of the root of your issue. This includes exercise routines, sleeping patterns, and diet.

However, an osteopathic doctor will still examine you and your present symptoms. They will press on different areas of your body to examine you. They may order imaging if they determine it’s necessary.

Finally, you may endure osteopathic manipulation. This is where your doctor will move your body to stretch, align, and examine your muscles and joints. This may feel silly or awkward but is extremely beneficial to helping your body heal.

What Is a Chiropractic Treatment?

Now that osteopathy is explained, you may find chiropractic medicine is much more familiar. Much like osteopathy, chiropractic concentrates on aligning the joints to reduce your pain. When you have a crick in your neck or endure back pain, you may want to visit a chiropractor to help.

A chiropractic guide and visit can also help you feel better. When you live in constant pain caused by a spinal misalignment, it can make your day-to-day life challenging. Acute treatment can help you return to your daily activities.


Much like osteopathy, a chiropractor focuses on ensuring you’re muscular skeleton is aligned and functioning. When your spine is not aligned correctly, you may experience chronic discomfort and pinched nerves.

A pinched nerve caused by a misaligned spine is simple for chiropractors to remedy and can lead to immediate relief.

Ensuring your body is aligned precisely around your spine is the significant focus of chiropractors. If you find yourself lacking a range of mobility due to pain in your back, neck, or shoulders, you’ll find a chiropractor who will be able to help you.


When you attend your first chiropractic appointment, you’ll discuss your current symptoms. This includes any pain, discomfort, or pressure you feel. Your chiropractor will also ask about your health history, so tell them about accidents or injuries you have sustained.

Osteopathy focuses on longer, more frequent sessions. Chiropractors often treat acute injuries. Often, many feel better immediately after leaving an appointment.

However, your chiropractor may recommend additional treatment if the injury is more intense. Aside from rescheduling appointments, they may also provide stretches and pain-management skills to help you get through the week.

To provide treatment, your chiropractor will do something known as a spinal adjustment. They will use their hands to physically manipulate your spine by applying sudden bursts of force to realign your body.

Alignments can seem scary as the alignment involves being pushed and twisted with force, but chiropractors are trained professionals. You may also find that your chiropractor has looked up improvement ideas for chiropractic clinics to provide a calm and relaxing environment for patients.

Exploring the Differences

Though there are many similarities between the two practices, they are very different.

For starters, the treatment methods may seem similar, as both use their hands to manipulate your body, but chiropractic is a bit more forceful. Osteopathy focuses on massaging and stretching. Chiropractors use sudden movements to force the joints into place.

Also, in most instances, osteopathic treatment will be longer than chiropractic appointments. Osteopathy centers around healing the whole body and thus will require extensive treatment. However, spinal adjustments focus on acute pain and pressure.

Finally, chiropractors cannot provide prescriptions, while osteopathic doctors can.

Osteopathy vs Chiropractic: Which Is Right for You?

When it comes to pain, getting treatment is essential to staying happy and healthy. Understanding the differences between these practices is key to getting the best help!

Did you find this guide to the differences between osteopathy vs chiropractic treatments helpful? If so, you’ll want to check out the rest of our website. There, you’ll find more health and wellness tips and tricks.


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