Posts

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.

dangers of heavy backpacks

The Dangers of Heavy Backpacks

Many people are under the assumption that backpacks are one of the more sensible and less-harmful methods of carrying items. The truth is, heavy backpacks are just as harmful as other alternatives (such as those with shoulder straps) especially if you’re over-filling them, and carrying around a backpack weight that is too much for your frame.

If you’re a regular backpack user and you’ve started to find yourself aching or experiencing strain in your back – it could be due to the backpack and the amount of weight you’ve been carrying with you. Good spinal health is vital for a healthy and active lifestyle.

Backpack dangers for children

Of course, when we think of heavy backpacks, we think of children heading off to school. Children are often at-risk from the damages that can be caused from a heavy backpack full of school supplies. They use them all week, throughout the school day. Most children walk to school, and walk between classes with their backpack on, and it’s during this time that carrying a heavy backpack can cause the most back damage.

Children are also unlikely to complain about their back problems –  as they have less experience of pain to compare their discomfort to. So, if your children are using backpacks for school, as their parent you need to be checking the weight of the backpack and the comfort of your child frequently. This is even more important if your children is likely to carry multiple books or digital devices such as tablets of laptops. It’s also important to teach your children how to wear their backpack properly, as many children will wear it in a way that ‘looks cool’ but might not necessarily give them the support they need.

Many Chiropractors see children throughout the year who experience strains in their muscles and joints, muscle aches, balance issues, posture problems and even misalignments due to backpack related injuries. They also treat children who experience sleeping issues because of backpack-related pain in their spine and hips.

Of course, these back issues can all be experienced by adults too, who may be having the same problem.

Backpack dangers for adults

For adults experiencing back pain from their heavy backpacks, the best preventative treatment is to reduce the weight you’re carrying, or find a new way of transporting items. In cities such as London, many commuters choose to use the small pull-along cases that many brands design for hand luggage on planes. These are usually small enough for most forms of public transport, but allow the same storage as a backpack (with none of the associated back pain).

If purchasing a new bag isn’t an option, make sure you’re carrying your items properly, and wearing your bag correctly too. You should always wear both straps of your backpack, and you should pull the bag tightly to your body so it isn’t bouncing or slouched. Try to also pack your bag mindfully, considering where items are placed and trying to centralise the heaviest things.

If you’re already experiencing pain and you need help, then chiropractic treatment is the best option for recovery. Chiropractic care will not only advise you on posture techniques, spinal manipulation, and recommend exercises to help you manage the pain, but they can also start the healing process to help you regain strength and confidence in your back once again.

Back damage can stop you doing all kind of activities and everyday tasks, so it is something you want to address and get a professional to look at, as soon as you recognise it.

image of man stretching

How to Maintain Good Posture

You probably remember as a child being told to “Stop slouching in your chair!” and to “Stand up straight!” At the time it was irritating, but all those years later you’re starting to realise the importance of a good posture.  Poor sitting and standing habits can cause muscle tension and over time, create discomfort and chronic pain illnesses. Bad posture takes a toll on the whole of your body – your spine, neck, shoulders, hips and knees. Actively maintaining a good posture and trying to correct common habits can really help long term health. Read more