What’s the Difference Between Osteopathy and Chiropractic?

When suffering from back, joint, ligament or neck pain, it can be difficult to know which specialist is best placed to meet your needs. Should you see an osteopath or a chiropractor? What even are the differences between the two?

The reality is that while both disciplines share much in common, they do differentiate from each other in subtle but important ways. Here’s a rundown of exactly what unites the two practices – and what sets them apart.

Similarities between osteopathy and chiropractic

  • The primary goal of both disciplines is pain relief
  • Both share a similar philosophy in that they look for alternative methods of treating this pain, instead of surgery or medication
  • Both conduct observational and tactile diagnoses to find the root of the problem
  • Both manipulate the blood supply and nervous system in order to treat not only bodily pain, but also the symptoms of many other conditions, including circulatory complications, migraines and more

Differences between osteopathy and chiropractic

  • Chiropractors concentrate largely (but not exclusively) on the spinal column, preventing damage of the nervous system and associated pain by achieving correct alignment
  • Osteopaths attempt to improve the overall function, comfort and performance of the body by taking a more holistic approach, which generally means they treat less concentrated areas to achieve pain relief
  • Chiropractors are more likely to qualify diagnoses via the use of qualitative procedures, such as blood tests, urine tests, MRI scans and X-rays – though only when necessary
  • Chiropractors specialise in manipulating the vertebrae in the spinal column, while osteopaths include more muscle and tissue massaging (although chiropractors do employ these methods as well)
  • Chiropractors may utilise shorter but more frequent appointments, whereas osteopaths may practice longer sessions that have longer spacing in between the two

Which should you choose to treat your pain?

The simple answer is that both chiropractors and osteopaths are fully-trained and fully-qualified specialists in many different kinds of joint and muscular injuries and complaints. It’s therefore important to find out which kind of treatment you feel works best for you, and then source a trustworthy, competent professional in that field. Above all, you should find someone who values your welfare, listens to your needs and devises an appropriate method of treatment accordingly.

At CW Chiropractic, we are members of the British Chiropractic Association and all of our staff have the experience and training to alleviate all kinds of back, neck, joint and muscle pain. We prioritise customer satisfaction above all else and are dedicated to delivering excellent service, quality of treatment and efficiency with each and every patient.

To find out more about how we can help, drop by our Canary Wharf practice or get in touch with us today.

Sleep Tight – the Best Mattresses for Back Pain

For those of us living hectic, stressful lives in the capital, the last thing we need is for our sleeping patterns to be interrupted by chronic back pain. Waking up full of aches and pains – or worse yet, not being able to get to sleep at all because of these niggles – can have a detrimental effect on energy levels, productivity and morale.

That’s why it’s so important to not only sleep in the correct position to minimise back pain, but also to choose a mattress that’s right for you. With so many options on offer and so many (apparently conflicting) opinions about which one is best suited to easing lower back pain, it can be difficult to know where to start.

This article aims to dispense with the jargon and condense all of that information into one handy, easy-to-read guide on how to choose your ideal mattresses for back pain, as well as some concrete pointers in the right direction.

Support is key

Old-school thinking dictated that back pain is most successfully treated via a firm mattress, but that viewpoint has shifted over the years. Nowadays, experts such as the British Chiropractic Association and The Sleep Council both agree that support should be prioritised over firmness. Indeed, a mattress that’s too firm can actually have a damaging effect on your lower back, especially if you weigh more.

Weigh up your options

It’s not a hard-and-fast dictum, but a general rule of thumb indicates that the heavier you are, the firmer a mattress you’ll need. The difficulty with this logic is that the mattress industry seems to disagree on exactly what constitutes a “soft”, “medium” or “firm” mattress, but again, a rough guide indicates that those under 11 stone should choose soft, those over 16 stone should pick firm and those in between should plump for medium.

Try before you buy

The logistics of trying out a mattress before you commit to the purchase might sound tricky, but it’s easier than you may think. Many companies, including Eve, Hyde and Sleep and Nytex offer free trials, whereby you can send back a mattress at little or no cost if you’re not satisfied with it. Failing that, you can always visit a showroom and prostrate yourself on as many mattresses as you like before buying. It’ll be worth it in the long run.

Our recommendations

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but for a starting point of where to begin, here are a handful of suggestions:

Soft mattresses for back pain: –

Silentnight 3 Zone Memory Foam

Sealy Nostromo 1400

Medium mattresses for back pain: –

Happy Beds Majestic 1000

Hyde and Sleep’s Next Gen Memory Foam

Firm mattresses for back pain: –

Hypnos Milford

Tempur Original Deluxe 27

Every individual’s needs are different

It’s important to remember that everyone’s unique circumstances will dictate what mattress is right for them – there’s no panacea that will cure everyone. Latex mattresses work for some people, memory foam for others. Therefore, the time you invest in carefully choosing the right mattress for you will be time well spent; find one that balances support with comfort and gives you the best night’s sleep possible.

Seek professional advice

It should also be remembered that the information in this guide should not be substituted for advice from a GP or back pain specialist, such as a licensed chiropractor. For friendly, impartial advice in the Canary Wharf area, get in touch with us today.

4 Ways to Self-Treat Back and Neck Pain

It’s estimated that eight out of ten people will suffer from back or neck pain throughout their lives, with many of these suffering chronic discomfort. While medication and painkillers can help to alleviate the symptoms of such maladies for some people, they’re by no means a cure-all solution.

If you’re one of the unfortunate souls for whom taking painkillers just doesn’t seem to help, or for whom constant medication is an unattractive option, here are four alternative ways in which you might be able to address the root cause of the problem.

1. Stretch it out

Much back and neck pain arises from stiffness and tightness in muscles and ligaments. Conducting a series of stretches and movements on a regular basis (every morning before showering and every evening before bed, for example) can increase the flexibility of your joints, thus providing pain relief and reducing the chances of suffering a recurrence of the complaint in the future. If you have a willing partner to hand, gentle massaging is another great way to self-treat back and neck pain.

2. Change your diet

Did you know 70% to 80% of the discs in our spinal column consist of water? For that reason, it’s imperative you stay hydrated throughout the diet to replace these vital fluids and minimise tension on your vertebrae. Meanwhile, magnesium is well-known for its abilities to help relax strained or sprained muscles, so increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods (such as fruit and vegetables, soy products and whole grains) can help to alleviate back and neck pain, too.

3. Take to the pool

The therapeutic effects of exercise in general should not be underestimated, and swimming in particular poses an attractive method of easing stiffness and reducing inflammation of sore muscles and joints. Be careful to choose a stroke that doesn’t cause severe discomfort and avoid over-exertion – breast stroke or backstroke can be very effective, since they avoid minimal movement of the neck. For best results, find a heated pool.

4. Adjust your posture

We often think of pain arising from an injury or accident, but much of the time chronic aches and pains are simply the result of poor habits. More than half of back pain sufferers report that they sit down for the majority of their working day – if that sounds familiar, consider purchasing or requesting a lumbar support chair for the office (and perhaps for the car, as well). Meanwhile, choosing a mattress that’s right for you will minimise any exacerbation of the issue overnight.

See a specialist

While these home remedies may help to take the edge off your back and neck pain and even reduce its long-term impact, there’s simply no substitute for the advice and treatment of a trained professional. At CW Chiropractic, we have years of experience in identifying and treating a multitude of back and neck pain complaints. To see how we can help you, get in touch today.