If you have never needed an osteopath or a chiropractor before, you will probably not fully understand the differences between them, and be unsure of which one you need for your specific issue. While they may be similar in many ways, there are specific differences that distinguish the two. After all, they have different titles and are considered two different practices.

We’ve put together the following guide to explain the differences between the two, as well as how to decide which one is more appropriate for you and your specific issue.


What is an Osteopath?

An osteopath is a healthcare practitioner specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. As osteopathy is a holistic approach, they also take into consideration a person’s physical, emotional and spiritual well-being when treating them.

Osteopaths are trained to use various techniques to help alleviate pain and restore body functionality. These could include manual manipulation, massage, stretching, and other hands-on therapies. There is also a strong emphasis on the body’s ability to heal itself with lifestyle changes, such as exercise or diet modifications.


What is a Chiropractor?

A chiropractor also specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, but more specifically those related to the spine and nervous system. Through manual manipulation techniques, they aim to help restore proper alignment and function to the spine, which they believe can improve overall health and well-being.

Chiropractors may use X-rays or MRI scans to help diagnose the problem, and then use various techniques such as spinal adjustments, joint mobilization, and soft tissue therapy. They will also recommend exercises, lifestyle changes, or nutritional supplements to support health and recovery.


Osteopath vs. Chiropractor: Main Differences

While both osteopaths and chiropractors treat musculoskeletal disorders, there are many key differences that set them apart.

  1. Most prominently, osteopaths use a holistic approach to treatment, which means that they consider the whole person when diagnosing and treating their condition. Alternatively, Chiropractors just focus on the spine and nervous system.
  2. Both use manual manipulation techniques, but the specific techniques used will differ as the areas of focus differ. Chiropractors focus on spinal adjustments, while osteopaths use a variety of massage and stretching techniques.
  3. The scope of practice for an osteopath is considerably wider than that of a chiropractor. A chiropractor will focus on just musculoskeletal disorders, while osteopaths can also provide treatment for other health conditions, such as respiratory and digestive problems.

It’s important to undertake thorough research and choose a practitioner that is trained and experienced in treating your specific condition.


Do you need a Chiropractor or an Osteopath?

Deciding on whether to visit a chiropractor or osteopath is your own decision. It is worth contacting your clinic, which will be able to provide you with more information and advise which service is best suited to your problem.

As a general rule of thumb, a chiropractor will be better suited if you know you have a problem with your spine or nervous system. If you require other treatment for issues such as headaches, posture, dizziness, or cranial problems, an osteopath would be the better choice for you.


Book Your Appointment Today

Key Osteopaths in Surrey are located in West Byfleet. With over 10 years of experience and qualifications from the British School of Osteopathy, our friendly team of osteopaths provide a range of treatments, including headaches, facial, cranial, dizziness, and posture.

If you would like to book an appointment, contact us today for more information. Our clients differ considerably in age, lifestyle and fitness level – everyone is welcome and we are confident in our ability to help you.