Osteopath Vs Chiropractor: When You Should Use Each?

Have you ever thought to yourself, “What is the difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath?” The difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath can often seem a little tricky to define. Indeed, chiropractors and osteopaths both commonly share similar roles and responsibilities.

However, the main difference between these two is that osteopaths generally provide a whole-body, holistic service, while chiropractors offer more targeted, specific treatments for the joints and the spine.

The exact comparisons between these specialist roles can still seem a little tricky in some cases. As such, today, we’re going into slightly further detail and looking at the comparison of an osteopath vs. chiropractor to help you find the most effective solutions for your own needs.

What’s the Difference Between a Chiropractor and Osteopath

First of all, we should outline the main difference between a chiro and an osteo. Indeed, while we’ve already briefly clarified that the main difference lies in the exact regions of the body each approach targets, this may still be unclear.

The Role of Chiropractors


Professional chiropractor support is typically characterised by focusing on just one or two regions of the body, compared to osteopath support which focuses on a full-body treatment. This means that professional chiropractors usually offer a more targeted solution, often for a specific pain or muscle stress.

One of the most notable differences between chiropractors and osteopathy is that chiropractors typically provide more science-backed treatments, often involving x-rays during the diagnosis of an injury. This may allow them to provide more targeted treatments for specific types of pain, such as muscular weakness helping the patient come to terms with their condition and find the most appropriate treatment solutions.

The most notable role of chiropractors is to balance out and straighten the spine and the joints. A professional chiropractor should hold a doctorate in chiropractic medicine. Chiropractors often have a deeper knowledge exclusively of the musculoskeletal systems than an osteopath might.

The Role of Osteopaths

Professional Osteopath

Generally speaking, most osteopaths provide therapy for their clients through movement and manual movement therapy and often focus on similar methods.

However, while a chiropractor provides more focused treatment for a problem area, osteopaths commonly focus on the body as a whole, with a greater focus on rehabilitation and exercise therapy, along with providing recommendations for how to lead a healthier, pain-free lifestyle. For example, they may be involved with holistically preventing complications or assisting with recovery and re-building strength post-surgery.

Similar to chiropractors, professional osteopaths require a minimum of either a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree. Training to become a professional osteopath is usually spread out over many years, with osteopaths needing to hold a very broad understanding of the human body and its functions and how each of these is interconnected.

Which is Better: Osteopath vs. Chiropractor Support?

Osteopath vs. Chiropractor

Many people have a common question when comparing an osteopath vs a chiropractor: “which is better?” However, the reality isn’t this clear-cut since neither an osteopath nor a chiropractor necessarily offers better support.

Instead, both osteopathy and chiropractic support are complementary and alternative medicines and are usually used alongside a professional diagnosis from a physician or doctor to aid healing. Still, you should never rely on chiropractic or osteopathic support in place of getting qualified advice from a registered physician or doctor.

Officially, chiropractic support is a more focused form of osteopathy and was invented just before the turn of the 20th century, around two decades after osteopathy was introduced. As such, chiropractors may be able to offer better solutions for a specific problem area, such as joint pains, neck pain, foot paint or tight muscles.

With that being said, if you’re looking for a more all-encompassing approach to target long-term health and well-being, without necessarily having a specific problem area already, osteopathy is an ideal holistic treatment for prevention and to help you make the most of your body’s natural repair systems overall.

Both osteopathy and chiropractic services can be invaluable complementary medicines alongside professional medical guidance. However, since choosing between them can be a challenge, it’s always advisable to consult either a professional physician/doctor or a local osteopath/chiropractor for more specific guidance on their unique range of services.

Or, if you’re unsure, you could always seek support from both a professional chiropractor and an osteopath to get full coverage for all of your symptoms and hopefully increase the chances of leading a happy, positive lifestyle overall.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been looking to get professional support, then understanding the difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath is integral. Fortunately, we hope today’s guide may have helped in this regard. But, if you still have any further questions about the main difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath, please don’t hesitate to contact your local team to find a suitable solution.

Related Article: Difference between an osteopath and a physiotherapist?