More about what is the difference between Osteopaths & Chiropractors?

The differences between Osteopathy and Chiropractic therapy stem from a rather subtle variance in philosophy. Osteopaths subscribe to two maxims based on the concept of the body as a unique inter-dependent system:

1. ‘The rule of the artery is supreme.’  This means that a healthy blood supply is likely to support a healthy bodily environment.  Therefore Osteopaths take circulation carefully into account when assessing patients.
2. ‘Structure governs function.’  This means that problems in the structure of the body, such as too much mechanical stress on the musculoskeletal system, can inhibit the natural function (physiology) of multiple bodily systems.

Although the roots of the word ‘osteopath’ suggest ‘osteo’ (bone) and pathology – this is a bit of a misnomer. Osteopaths use the bones as levers to assist the function and mobility to the musculoskeletal system. By moving these anatomical structures, Osteopaths can aid the body’s natural healing ability.

Chiropractors tend to focus on the spine and the alignment of vertebrae as the primary means to relieving pain and tension throughout the body.  The spine consists of vertebrae – 24 bony segments plus the sacrum and coccyx. The vertebrae protect the spinal cord and the individual spinal nerve branches stem out from the cord.  The nerve branches exit between the bones, conveying important messages between the brain and the rest of the body.  As the vertebra shift and move with everyday activity, they can ‘misalign’ and interfere with the nerve messages travelling along them. It is thought this interference causes problems, and frequently pain, throughout the body.

The main objective for both Osteopaths and Chiropractors is usually to relieve aches and pain.  However, Osteopaths also treat a broader range of functional problems, such as disorders of the respiratory or digestive systems – by working with the nervous system and blood supply.

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