Chiropractor or Osteopath? – What’s the Difference?

Chiropractor or Osteopath? – What’s the Difference?


If only I had a pound for every time I’ve been asked this…


The short Answer?

Not a lot.  Full stop.

Real short!


The long answer… is a tad more complicated


Blood vs Nerves

Ohh, why can’t health decisions be easy?

When I was looking into going back to University to study my dream career I wanted to make sure this high-cost step was the one I wanted to take so I did some research.

I found that Chiropractic follows nerve flow through the body, whilst Osteopathy follows blood flow.

Sounds like an easy separation.  But actually, blood and nerves generally flow together.  So, no real difference.


Muscles vs joints

Then I went and shadowed people: I wanted to see what they were doing (and if I could really do the same thing).  I found that Chiropractors tend to work on the joints, whilst Osteopaths work more on the muscles.

Again, it sounds nice and separate, but again… they’re not.  Joints and muscles work together. In fact, they work together so much that there’s not much point having one without the other.  Resulting in any treatment on one also affecting the other.



My Chiropractic training taught me to use what are known as “short-lever techniques”.  It means that I am right on top of the joint I want to adjust (move).

I believe that osteopaths are taught to use a “long-lever” technique.  My understanding of this is that they use the whole leg to get the joint/muscle in your back moving.

Yet again, this sounds nice and separate.  But the two professions can easily attend each other’s courses and seminars.  And each and every one of us works in our own way.  Resulting in some Chiropractors working more like Osteopaths and some Osteopaths working more like Chiropractors.

So, yet again, that separation between the professions are minimal and even interchangeable.


The Only Differentiation…

… I have found is actually that chiropractors get trained to take x-rays.  But seeing as we don’t have those facilities at ChiroPractical’s Clinic – the difference has disappeared yet again.


Thumbs Up from Doctor and Patient

Back to the Start

So, coming full-circle the first, short answer is probably the best one.

What’s the difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?

Not. A. Lot!





NB.: So how do you decide who to see?

Which is usually what the Osteo vs Chiro question is all about, isn’t it!?

Well, a lot of the improvements I see comes down to trust, treating the right thing and doing it in a way that YOUR body likes.

So, when it comes to deciding on who see to help you, ask your friends for help; usually you’ll trust the same kind of people.  But once you’re there you need to get along with your practitioner.  Treatment is rarely an instantaneous fix, but after a few session you’d normally feel that your body likes what’s happening to it and that it doesn’t ‘complain’ after each session.  Basically, referrals are great, but you’ve still got to suck it and see.

And whether that treatment be from a Chiropractor or an Osteopath, isn’t’ really going to make much difference.  (Although you already know MY preference!!)  ?

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