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Osteopath vs Chiropractor: Which One Do You Need?

You have bad back pain, headaches or a musculoskeletal issue and nothing seems to work. You go online and you find out that both osteopaths and chiropractors in Markham may be able to help you. But it seems like their scope of practices cross paths in many ways, including their belief in treating the whole person, versus just one part, often through manipulating the spine and other parts of the musculoskeletal system.

The Similarities Between Chiropractors and Osteopaths

Understanding their similarities can help you better understand the differences that may make an osteopath or a chiropractor better suited to treat your particular condition.

Both maintain a similar philosophy all parts of your body are interrelated and your spinal health can affect overall health issues. Considering your central nervous system runs along your spine and neck, that makes a lot of sense. Their overarching goal is to relieve aches and pain throughout the body system, but they may also treat issues relating to circulation, digestion and headaches

To achieve their goals, both professions may use physical therapy including spinal manipulative techniques, they may manipulate joints and/or massage muscles and soft tissue.

The Differences Between Chiropractors & Osteopaths

Perhaps the main difference is that osteopaths are medical doctors while there is no requirement in Canada for chiropractors to be so qualified. As such, osteopaths may prescribe medications which a chiropractor cannot do.

Osteopathic medicine tends to treat a wider variety of ailments, using more techniques to engage the body’s healing systems.

Chiropractic treatment focuses mainly on manipulating the vertebrae of the spine. Chiropractic care often takes advantage of x-rays and MRI scans to diagnose issues, while osteopaths tend to focus on physical examination.  Many chiropractic clinics are equipped with x-ray machines.

If you found this article helpful, check out our recent post titled “Why Do I Have Back Pain When I Bend Forward”.


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