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More on the difference between Osteopathic treatment & Chiropractic treatment

What is the difference between Osteopathic treatment & Chiropractic treatment?
Often, patient experiences with Osteopaths and Chiropractors will be very similar. However, there are some differences.  For example, when diagnosing patients, Osteopaths and Chiropractors both use visual inspection (observation) and palpation (touch). Chiropractors frequently rely on more diagnostic procedures, such as X-rays.  Osteopaths tend to place more emphasis on the physical examination and will generally refer patients on for more diagnostic procedures, if required.

Osteopaths use a number of techniques in order to influence the body’s innate healing system. These include; soft tissue, muscle work, joint articulation and mobilisation or manipulation. The specific treatment will depend upon the patient’s unique circumstances. Whilst Osteopaths may use manipulation to encouraging better movement and for its secondary analgesic effect (pain relief), Osteopaths often tend to concentrate on working with the soft tissues.

By contrast, Chiropractors tend to concentrate on influencing the nervous system by using a technique called ‘adjustment’. The actual technique is similar to that of Osteopathic manipulation. The Chiropractic theory is that by adjusting the position of vertebrae, this will allow a return to proper alignment along the spinal column, and permit optimal nerve transmission.

The length of treatment also typically varies between Osteopaths and Chiropractors.  In general, Chiropractic appointments tend to be shorter as the practitioner focuses on adjusting the spine (this does not mean to say that Chiropractors don’t adjust areas other than the spine).  However, Chiropractors tend also to see patients more frequently. Osteopaths tend to spend more time with a patient per visit, as their focus is somewhat broader and their treatment techniques are more varied.

It is important to remember that there will be variations between individual practitioners of both disciplines, from what they focus upon, to how they apply treatment.  Each Osteopath and Chiropractor is an individual, with his or her own unique style of practice. It is important for a patient to find a practice that fits his or her unique needs.

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