19 Feb 2024

What’s the Difference Between a Chiropractor and an Osteopath?

By Charles Herbert

In the realm of manual therapy, chiropractors and osteopaths are often grouped together due to their holistic approach to health care. Yet, these professions have distinctive methodologies and philosophies toward patient care. As a trained chiropractor, I can share insights into the unique aspects of chiropractic care, emphasising the differences from osteopathy based on my expertise and experience. It’s important to note that each profession has its own depth of knowledge and should be understood within its own context.

Chiropractic: A Connection Between Brain and Body

Chiropractic care centers on the health and functionality of the nervous system, which governs every cell, tissue, organ, muscle, system, and joint in your body. The primary goal of a chiropractor is to ensure a seamless communication pathway between the body and the brain, allowing the body to operate at its peak. This connection is vital for adapting to stress, healing injuries, facilitating ease of movement, and optimising overall well-being.

Chiropractors receive up to five years of university training, including a post-graduate degree, encompassing extensive studies in anatomy, physiology, radiology, and the skill to conduct and interpret x-rays. This educational background equips chiropractors to focus on the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine, and its influence on the nervous system.

The practice of chiropractic involves identifying and correcting spinal dysfunctions that impede the body’s communication network. These dysfunctions are addressed through spinal adjustments, a hands-on technique that restores proper movement to the joints. Adjustments may produce a ‘pop’ sound, indicating the release of air trapped between the joints, a process known as an adjustment.

Chiropractic care is about facilitating the body’s natural healing capabilities by removing any interference in the nervous system. This approach ensures that the body can fully benefit from healthy habits, exercises, and stretches, enhancing overall health and wellness.

Osteopathy: A Holistic Soft Tissue Focus

Osteopathy, while sharing similarities with chiropractic in its holistic view of health, differs in its approach and techniques. Osteopaths also focus on the body’s musculoskeletal system but tend to emphasise a broader scope of manual therapy, including soft tissue techniques, joint mobilisation, and a general approach to body mechanics. Osteopathic treatment aims to improve the body’s structural integrity, thereby facilitating the body’s inherent ability to heal itself.

Osteopaths are trained in recognising and treating a wide range of health issues, not just those related to the spine or musculoskeletal system. Their practice includes a comprehensive assessment of the body’s structure and function, followed by a tailored treatment plan that may incorporate massage, stretching, and mobilisation techniques.

The Choice Between Chiropractic and Osteopathy

When deciding between a chiropractor or an osteopath, consider your specific health goals and preferences. Both professions offer valuable perspectives and techniques for managing back pain, improving the function of the musculoskeletal system, and supporting overall health through alternative medicine practices.

Whether you’re seeking relief from lower back pain, looking to enhance your body’s natural healing abilities, or interested in a holistic approach to health care, both chiropractic and osteopathy provide effective treatment options. It’s essential to consult with professionals from both fields to understand which approach might be best suited for your individual needs.


While there are differences between chiropractors and osteopaths, both play a crucial role in the field of alternative medicine. Their shared goal is to support the body’s natural healing processes through holistic and non-invasive methods. Whether through chiropractic adjustments focusing on the spine and nervous system or osteopathic treatments addressing the entire musculoskeletal system, both approaches offer pathways to improved health and well-being.

For more information on Chiropractic Care or to schedule an appointment at Kasa Chiro, please contact us or book an appointment here.