We often have new patients ask us which one of our services is the best fit for their needs. It is very common for a new patient to be unsure which treatment or practitioner they should seek out for their specific ailments, pains, or conditions. When it comes to back pain, headaches, or any other musculoskeletal condition, it can be confusing to know the difference between Chiropractors and Osteopaths. In today’s blog, we thought it would be helpful to outline what both treatments are, how they are similar, and how they differ from one another. The truth is that both chiropractors and osteopaths are equally great options for treatment and it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the root cause of your pain.

What is Chiropractic Treatment?

Chiropractic care is a hands-on, non-invasive, health care discipline that focuses on biomechanics. Our chiropractor at LiveWell Waterloo provides diagnoses, treatment plans, and preventative education for issues related to the neuromusculoskeletal system. Chiropractic treatments are most commonly associated with spine adjustments, but we can also help with disorders related to the pelvis, nervous system, and joints. At  LiveWell Waterloo, we like to take a client-focused approach which means our chiropractor will assess each patient as a whole instead of individual parts, muscles, ligaments, etc. to provide the best overall quality of life. Our chiropractor seeks to reduce pain and improve the mobility of patients while focusing on the intimate relationship between the spine and the nervous system. Chiropractic treatment is based around the belief that if the spine is not properly aligned, the nervous system will be negatively impacted.

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is also a form of manual therapy that is based on an in-depth understanding of the structure and function of the body. Our LiveWell Waterloo Osteopath focuses on the relationship between the musculoskeletal system and overall health with the fundamental belief that all body systems are interrelated and depend on one another for good health. Osteopathy is a natural therapy that focuses on the bones, ligaments, muscles, and connective tissues of the body to look for any points of weakness, imbalance, or strain. These weak points will have an effect on how well your body functions and have a more overarching impact on your general health. Osteopaths are often trained to look more closely past the region of pain and actually locate the root of the problem.

How Are They Similar?

The primary goal of both treatments is to alleviate your pain and they both can be used to address problems with circulation, digestion, and headaches. Both our chiropractor and osteopath share the same philosophy that spinal health influences your overall health. They are similar in that they manually manipulate joints, muscles, and tissues to optimize spine health, which in turn improves the operation of the nervous system and blood flow to body systems. Both chiropractors and osteopaths believe that working on and manually manipulating the spine of a patient can optimize the function of the nervous system and improves blood flow to the whole body.

How Are They Different?

Chiropractors mainly focus on the alignment of the spine while Osteopaths often focus more on the whole body and its structure. Osteopaths tend to treat a broader range of disorders, while most chiropractors focus on muscle and joint pain. While Chiropractors are more inclined to use tests like x-rays and MRI scans, Osteopaths often rely more on their own physical examination.

Who Should I See?

While there is not a huge difference between the two treatments, their unique approaches will feel different as you experience and interact with them. Think about what issues you are hoping to address so we can help you decide which treatment and practitioner are best for your specific needs. The main deciding factor will usually be whether or not your issue is mostly related to your back, joints or muscles or with the organs as well. The chiropractor at LiveWell Waterloo mainly focus on the alignment of the spine and believe doing so can alleviate pain because it prevents pinched nerves or various other issues related to the nervous system. Our LiveWell Waterloo Osteopath is more visceral in her focus, so organs are a big part of her assessment and focus for her patients. It is often a personal choice that our clients make between the two – we are always here to help and will give you our best recommendations before you make your decision. Absolute’s interdisciplinary patient management means we are able to utilize both chiropractic and osteopath expertise to provide the best treatment plans for your needs.

We hope that this blog helped explain the difference between chiropractors and osteopaths so that you can make a more informed decision for your rehabilitation treatments. Give us a call at (519)880-1733 or fill out our contact form with any questions and to learn how physiotherapy can enhance your overall quality of life. We’re also always happy to help answer any general physiotherapy and wellness questions, provide you with health tips, and schedule a consultation. Just ask!