Osteopathy vs. Chiropractor: What Are the Differences?

Did you know that over 50 million U.S. adults complain about pain daily or on most days? That’s about 1 in 5 American adults suffering from back, hip, knee, or foot pain!

Fortunately, such painful health woes are treatable and often without medication. One drug-free option is osteopathy. Another is to see a chiropractor for non-medicated therapy.

To that end, we created this osteopathy vs. chiropractor guide. Read on to discover their meaning, their differences, and when to choose which.

Osteopathy vs. Chiropractor: A Quick Comparison

Osteopathy, also called osteopathic medicine, is an alternative medical practice. It aims to detect, treat, and prevent health problems through a whole-body approach.

By contrast, a chiropractor is a trained health professional specializing in chiropractic care.

What Is Osteopathy? A Closer Look

Osteopathic medicine focuses on improving a person’s entire well-being through non-invasive manual therapy. Manual therapy involves using the hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent health problems.

Osteopathy’s principle is that a person’s overall health depends on the musculoskeletal system. So its chief goal is to ensure the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tissues function smoothly. It does so through the hands-on manipulation of the musculoskeletal components.

Doctors of osteopathy (DOs) are the healthcare professionals who practice osteopathy. Like medical doctors (MDs), DOs are also physicians who’ve gone to med school for at least four years. They’ve also passed state licensure exams and worked as interns or residents.

Some of the most common osteopathic techniques are massaging, stretching, and gentle pressure. DOs use them to treat arthritis, body pain, headaches, posture problems, and neuralgia, to name a few.

So What Is a Chiropractor?

Chiropractors aren’t MDs but hold a doctor of chiropractic degree. They have extensive training in chiropractic care. It’s a branch of healthcare emphasizing the body’s ability to recover and heal itself.

Chiropractors also use manual therapy but focus primarily on spinal adjustment and manipulation. Sometimes, they provide nutritional counseling and exercise treatments.

Chiropractors help patients by treating pain conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system. For example, they can help treat and ease the symptoms of neck pain, shoulder pain, and back pain.

In the U.S., chiropractors must hold a license to practice. To get licensed, they must first pass a national board exam. They must then satisfy continuing education requirements to maintain their licensure.

Who Should You See?

Do you experience pain in a specific area of your body, like the neck or the lower back, but don’t have other ailments? Then you may want to see the best chiropractor in your area, as you may only need spinal adjustments. A few chiropractic sessions may be enough to treat your condition.

What if you have many symptoms, like headaches, tingling in the hands and feet, and lower back pain? Perhaps you also have arthritis, a joint disorder affecting 24% of U.S. adults. In that case, it might be best to see a DO whose specialization is a holistic approach.

A DO may treat all your health woes with manual therapy. But if that’s not enough, the doctor may have to give you prescription drugs. As a licensed physician, a DO has the authority to prescribe medicines.

Get Help for Your Pain Now

We hope this osteopathy vs. chiropractor guide has enlightened you on how the two differ. Just remember that osteopathy is a holistic or whole-body medical practice. In contrast, a chiropractor is a doctor of chiropractic care.

However, both can help relieve and treat painful health woes. So if you’re in pain, visit an osteopath, a chiropractor, or both ASAP.

Did you like this article? Then, check out more of our blog now!

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