by Richard Hollis
Are you experiencing neck, back or muscle pain? Have you been thinking of consulting an osteopath or chiropractor, but you’re not sure exactly what they do and how the treatments differ? The following information is designed to help you to understand the differences between chiropractors and osteopaths, and make the decision that’s right for you.
What is a chiropractor?
Chiropractors believe the structure and functionality of the spine plays a key role in the musculoskeletal and neurological system. They may treat back, neck, shoulder and elbow pain by manipulating the spine and adjusting its alignments, focussing mainly on the joints. Only Chiropractors registered with the General Chiropractic Council can practice in the UK.
What is an osteopath?
Osteopaths focus on the relationship between the musculoskeletal system and overall health. They move, stretch and massage muscles and joints to relieve pain or other symptoms. Osteopathy may be used to treat lower back pain, shoulder pain, arthritis or sports injuries. Only people registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) are allowed to practice as or call themselves osteopaths.
What are the main differences?
Whilst chiropractors and osteopaths both use gentle joint manipulation, massage and muscle stretching to relieve joint pain.
A chiropractor is trained to refer for and interpret X-Rays or MRI scans, whereas osteopaths rely more on their own physical examination.
Osteopaths may do more muscle and soft tissue work to manipulate the joints in the body, whereas a chiropractor will often focus on the spine.
So, which should I choose?
Deciding on whether to visit a chiropractor or an osteopath is your own personal choice. At Broadgate Clinics we all practice evidence-based practice, so the best way to choose is by recommendation. If you’re not sure, ring the clinic and ask to speak to a practitioner who will be able to guide you best.
It is worth being aware that both chiropractors and osteopaths are not widely available on the NHS. For further information and advice about whether seeing a chiropractor or osteopath would be beneficial for you, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.