The key difference between osteopath and chiropractor and physiotherapist is the treatment methods they use. While osteopaths utilize less painful hands-on treatment techniques, chiropractors use forced manipulation to rectify dislocated joints, and physiotherapists use exercise-based treatments to rectify muscle movement limitations.
Osteopaths, chiropractors, and physiotherapists are licensed physicians who treat neuromuscular and skeletal system-based ailments. All three practitioners treat similar areas of the body with manual drug-free techniques. The treatment techniques are non-invasive to improve physical health and well-being.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. Who is an Osteopath
3. Who is a Chiropractor
4. Who is a Physiotherapist
5. Similarities – Osteopath and Chiropractor and Physiotherapist
6. Osteopath vs Chiropractor vs Physiotherapist in Tabular Form
7. Summary – Osteopath vs Chiropractor vs Physiotherapist
Who is an Osteopath?
An osteopath is a licensed physician who tries to heal people’s bodies by restoring the normal function and stability of joints. An osteopath focuses on joints, muscles, and the spine. An osteopathic treatment also affects the nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems positively. Osteopaths usually use their hands to treat the patient’s body using a mixture of gentle and forceful techniques. Such techniques include massages, stretching stiff joints, articulation, and high-velocity thrusts. The massaging technique is used to release and relax muscles. During the articulation process, the joints are moved through their natural range of motion. High-velocity thrust is a technique similar to cracking knuckles. Here, short sharp movements are made to the spine, producing a clicking noise.
The main aim of osteopaths is to reduce pain, improve movement, and encourage blood flow throughout the body. Osteopathy is not painful. However, soreness and stiffness in joints, muscles and spine areas are common after the first few treatments with severe injuries.
Who is a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor is a professional healthcare provider that focuses on managing problems related to the neuromuscular skeletal system. The chiropractor manages back and neck pains through adjustments to the spinal cord and the pelvis through forced manipulation to maintain proper alignment. Individuals with low back pain, neck pain, and headaches consult chiropractors for chiropractic adjustments. Therefore, chiropractors are an essential pain management resource. They rely on the body’s self-healing mechanism and does not prescribe any pain medication. Hence, their primary focus is spinal manipulation.
Chiropractors use their hands or related instruments to apply a force mainly on spinal joints and to the pelvis to relocate the joint to a better alignment in a specific direction. Apart from spinal manipulation, chiropractors utilize other treatment techniques such as relaxation, diet and weight loss management counselling, exercises, and hot and cold treatment. They also treat arthritic joint functioning. This depends on the type of arthritis. In addition to pain management, most adults consult chiropractors to increase energy, prevent disease and strengthen the immunity system.
Who is a Physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist is a professional health care provider who utilizes fewer hands-on based treatments to manage ailments in the neuromuscular skeletal system such as back pain but focuses on exercise-based approaches for muscle mobilization. A physiotherapist primarily focuses on individuals with limitations in movement. Such incidents are due to accidents, surgery, injury, and various health conditions.
During treatment, a physiotherapist evaluates the patient’s condition and recommends a set of exercises or stretching of muscles using muscle stimulation devices to improve muscle mobilizations and to reduce the ailments in movement and function. Apart from exercises, physiotherapists use posture education, heat and cold therapy, and wellness plans to improve health. Physiotherapists usually treat a diverse number of conditions. Hence, they undergo broad-based training. The most common ailments that physiotherapists treat are orthopaedic conditions such as back pain, lower back pain, neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, vertigo, neuropathy, autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic conditions like asthma, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
What are the Similarities Between Osteopath and Chiropractor and Physiotherapist?
- All three are licensed physicians.
- All of them focus on managing pain and discomfort with the use of non-surgical and non-invasive techniques.
- They do not prescribe drugs for treatment.
- Moreover, all techniques treat neuromuscular skeletal system ailments.
- Cold and heat therapy technique is used by all three physicians
- All three physicians evaluate the symptoms and focus on the health history before prescribing treatments.
What is the Difference Between Osteopath and Chiropractor and Physiotherapist?
The key difference between osteopath and chiropractor and physiotherapist is primarily their treatment methods. An osteopath is a licensed physician who heals patients with functional disorders in joints, muscles, and spine with less painful techniques. A chiropractor, on the other hand, is a licensed healthcare provider who focuses on functional disorders in the neuromuscular skeletal system through forced manipulation on joints to rectify. Meanwhile, a physiotherapist is a professional physician who manages ailments in the neuromuscular skeletal system through exercise-based approaches.
The below infographic presents the differences between osteopath and chiropractor and physiotherapist in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Osteopath vs Chiropractor vs Physiotherapist
Osteopaths, chiropractors, and physiotherapists are health care providers who treat neuromuscular and system-based ailments. The key difference between osteopath and chiropractor and physiotherapist is the type of treatment technique they use. Physiotherapists focus on more scientific and exercised based approaches. Osteopaths and chiropractors treat similar ailments, but chiropractors use more forced muscle and joint manipulations to rectify dislocations or other muscular ailments. All three physicians share common facts, such as the use of heat and cold techniques, the requirement of a valid licence to practice, and the use of non-invasive techniques for treatment without prescribing pain medication.
1. “What Is a Chiropractor? What They Do, When to See One, and What to Expect.” WebMD.
2. Stanborough, Rebecca Joy. “What Is an Osteopath, What Do They Do, and Are They Right for You?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 18 Sept. 2020.
3. “What Is a Physiotherapist? What They Do, When to See One, and What to Expect.” WebMD.
1. “Osteopathy Complete (1898) (14756710206)” By Internet Archive Book Images – (No restrictions) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Chiropractic spinal adjustment” By Michael Dorausch from Venice – Jim Dubel Chiropractic Uploaded by SchuminWeb (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia