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What’s the Difference: Osteopath vs Chiropractor

If you’re looking into getting care and help with any back, muscle or joint pain, you may be wondering what kind of practitioner it is best to visit. Both the Osteopath and Chiropractor both believe that back and spine health is important to overall well being and the integrity of the body, but there are some fundamental differences you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing who to invest your time with.

We’ll go over these differences here, so you can understand how the two disciplines vary, and so you can make an educated decision.

First let’s look at how each discipline is defined.

What is a Chiropractor?

A Chiropractor focuses mainly on the spine and musculoskeletal system. A chiropractor believes the structure of the spine, and how your spine functions, has a large effect on the rest of your body –  including your musculoskeletal and neurological system.

Chiropractors treat their patients (who are usually experiencing pain issues, joint problems or muscle pain) by manipulating the spine and making spinal and alignment adjustments. This is done using their hands and body weight, not by using surgery.

What is an Osteopath?

An Osteopathwill help you detect, treat and prevent health issues by using a variety of techniques, including moving, stretching and massaging the patient’s body. Osteopathy is based on the belief that the health and wellbeing of a body is very dependent on their bones, joints, muscles and ligaments – and they will aim to make this work together in harmony.

Osteopaths can help with increasing the mobility of joints (especially in cases where this is limited or painful), relieving muscle tension and helping increase blood flow to problem areas.

What are the main similarities between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?

A large amount of techniques do overlap between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor, and the two disciplines are often closely linked. Whilst it’s key to know the differences and which is applicable for different pain, or different problems – it’s also important to know that these two practices are very similar in their end goal and their general approach.

With both, the primary goal is to relieve pain in the body. Whether that be joint pain, muscle pain or general aching. They also both have secondary goals too – and have been known to help with addressing issues such as blood circulation, headaches, digestion, and even fertility. The areas of the body each practitioner investigates, and the positive side-effects felt afterwards tend to vary from patient to patient.

What are the main differences between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?

When you’re investing time and money in receiving treatment or therapy from an Osteopath or Chiropractor, you want to be sure you’ve chosen the right pathway to health. We’ve listed out the main difference below so you can ensure you’ve chosen the right kind of therapist.

Difference 1

In terms of their focus areas, Chiropractors will spend a lot of time and a lot focus looking at the alignment of your spine. This is where they specialise and the core principle of chiropractic therapy is that healing can often be found through proper alignment. Focussing on this area will mean they pay a lot of attention to your back and posture, and will work with you to prevent any issues such as pinched nerves, trapped nerves, or anything else that could be compromising your general health. For Osteopaths, they may take a wider view of your body, and focus their attention on other areas, if that’s what they deem necessary. They will often look at the structure of your body as a whole, rather than focussed in on your spine.

Difference 2

Generally, Osteopaths will see patients for a wider spectrum of pain issues or disorders. As we mentioned earlier, both practices have plenty of secondary health goals, but Osteopaths tend to come into contact with these more. Fertility treatments are quite common with Osteopaths, but less so for Chiropractors for example. Most Chiropractors will find they’re focussed mainly on back, muscle and joint pain.

Difference 3

The tools both techniques use differ slightly too. When you attend a Chiropractor appointment, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to take an x-ray or an MRI scan. Some Chiropractors will even have x-ray machine in their office. X-rays are less common with Osteopaths, as Osteopathy will rely more on the therapists own physical examination.

Difference 4

Chiropractors will use the majority of the time to focus on the adjustments needed in your spine and alignment. However, you’ll find that during an Osteopath appointment, they may use a wider variety of techniques to manipulate and examine your body. For example, they may focus more on muscle and soft tissue work.

Benefits of using a standing desk

One of the biggest causes of back pain and back issues is bad posture – and for many people they fall victim to bad posture during working hours when they’re either slumped into a bad chair, or slouched over a laptop or computer.

We don’t realise the effect this can have on our backs, but when you’re spending 8 hours (or more) a day hunched over a desk, it can certainly have detrimental side-effects.

One of the ways you can begin to improve your posture, is by investing in a standing desk. Standing desks have been around for many decades (especially popular with designers and illustrators) but it hasn’t been until recent years that standing desks have become more mainstream in regular offices.

In countries such as Denmark, companies are actually required to provide employees with desks that convert from sitting to standing, so that employees have the option to choose which position they’d rather work in day by day. Whilst this is certainly the ideal situation, it’s not possible for everyone – and in the UK there aren’t any requirements around desk and chair quality.

So what are the benefits of a standing desk? Keep reading to find out…

Decreased back and neck pain

Over time, using a standing desk can help ease back and neck pain. There have been many studies to support this, including the study called “Take-a-Stand Project” in 2011. This particular study found that participants of the study who spend approximately an hour of their day standing up, experienced a 54% reduction in upper back and neck pain. That’s quite a considerable amount, and the study showed dramatic results. Having the option to stand for part of your day could have the same effect on you.

Lower risk of heart disease

You wouldn’t think a simple change from a sitting desk to a standing desk could affect your heart, but it does and studies have proved it. This link has actually been researched many time, and one of the most famous studies took place In 1953 where a selection of bus conductors were studied. Of those that took part, the ones who stood all day had half the risk of heart disease-related deaths than those who were seated. Similar studies have been repeated since, all with similar findings. Generally a sedentary lifestyle is considered closely linked with cardiovascular mortality.

Standing desks burn more calories

If you’re looking to improve health and well-being across lots of areas of your life, a standing desk might be able to help you. For people who are overweight or obese, a standing desk can help burn additional calories, which can go onto contribute to weight loss. For people at an ideal weight, it can help maintain your weight and avoid obesity or weight problems. By standing at your desk instead of sitting, it’s approximated that you’ll burn an additional 50 calories per hour, which all adds up over time.

How to avoid being scammed by a Chiropractor

Investing in your health is always a good idea, except for those time when it’s not…

For many people, when the time comes that need to see a chiropractor, they spend days researching the right practitioner and the right clinic. You might spend hours conducting online research, you may have initial phone consultations before paying for an appointment, and you might even scout out online reviews from their previous clients and patients.

But what if you do all this, and you still feel like you’re being scammed?

It’s a horrible thought, to think that your chiropractor might be scamming you and taking advantage of your pain or poor health – but it does happen and for many people it’s a reality.

What are the signs my chiropractor is scamming me?

Luckily, there are some ways you can spot if your chiropractor is scamming you, and our overarching advice here would be: If it doesn’t feel right, don’t continue paying money for treatments.

They use too many scare tactics

In a chiropractic clinic, you’re generally there for a specific purpose, or a specific type of pain. This can be scary and it can feel daunting and worrying – but your chiropractor should try and put you at ease at all times, and you should feel encouraged by progress. If you feel dread every time your chiropractor opens their mouth – because you’re worried about what warning or prediction they’re going to give – they might be trying to scare you into extra appointments and consultations.

Your treatment course seems never ending

Most chiropractors will want to work with you intensively over a few weeks to resolve or improve an issue, and in some extreme cases (such as vehicle accidents for example) the treatment course might take longer (maybe several months). If your chiropractor is recommending months and months (even years) of appointments, with no end in sight – it may be worth reassessing and choosing someone else who can deliver results in a more timely manner.

They offer a ‘miracle cure’

The interesting thing about chiropractic work is that the body can be an unpredictable and confusing thing. Most honest and reliable chiropractors will be open about this with you, and will explore potential avenues for your treatment to go down, before identifying the most effective route. A chiropractor who claims to have a one-size-fits-all miracle cure, is likely lying.  

There is too much sales-talk

If you feel like you’re constantly being sold to, and being offered discounts, deals and referral codes, then you may start to feel as though you’re being scammed. With anything health related, you want to be getting the best treatment – not necessarily the quickest or the cheapest.

Here at Canary Wharf Chiropractic, we will never scam you and have a number of quality standards that we upload on each and every visit.

We look forward to seeing you. Book a consultation here.

person in chiropractic session, Chiropractor can help, first visit

How a Chiropractor can Help

Chiropractors are known for providing alternative treatment for back pain and other ailments – but how exactly do they help the symptoms? Chiropractors use their hands to treat aches and pains in the bones, joints and muscles, using a range of techniques including spinal manipulation. Chiropractic is a manual therapy and is an approved treatment of back pain, neck pain and more.

Take a look at some of these common complaints and how seeing a chiropractor can help reduce the pain. Read more