Chiropractors and osteopaths are both healthcare professionals who specialize in treating musculoskeletal problems. However, there are some differences between the two professions.
Chiropractors focus on the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine. They use hands-on manipulations to realign your joints and potentially lead to pain relief. Chiropractors are more likely to use hands-on manipulations to relieve your symptoms.
Osteopaths, on the other hand, diagnose and treat problems with muscles, bones, and soft tissues by assessing the function of the body as a whole. They look at the effect that your bones, soft tissue, and muscles have on your nervous system specifically the nerves that run within your spine. Osteopathic treatments focus on “longer lever” manipulations and manipulation of all the joints in a problem area.
Both professions use some techniques that are gentle and some that are a bit more forceful. Fortunately for patients, there are a wide range of techniques both practitioners have at their disposal.
In terms of education, chiropractors undergo a four-year doctoral graduate program after completing an undergraduate degree.
Osteopaths complete a four-year medical degree program followed by a residency program.