Chiropractic or Osteopathy?

Osteopathy compared to Chiropractic? What are the differences for treating low back pain?


Visiting an Osteopath and a Chiropractor is essentially a similar experience for anyone suffering from low back pain. On the face of it they both manipulate the spine and help people with a variety of symptoms ranging from low back pain, to neck pain, cervicogenic headaches or dizziness, headache migraines, and hip osteoarthritis. However, there are both subtle and significant differences in how they work.

An Osteopath manipulates the spine with a zipping fashion, moving multiple spinal levels. In comparison a chiropractor clicks the spine to move just one spinal level. Consequently Chiropractic treatment generally involves less force compared to Osteopathy.

A Chiropractor will treat the whole spine to align and balance it. An Osteopath as a generalization will only focus on the area that hurts. For example, if someone was suffering from severe low back pain, a Chiropractor would treat the whole spine to help the customer. An Osteopath would tend to just treat the area with the problem (the low back)

An Osteopath would tend to do more soft tissue work and massage compared to a Chiropractor. They generally also practice more cranial work than a Chiropractor (but this can vary a lot from practitioner to practitioner.) As a result of this most Osteopath appointments are longer than Chiropractor appointments. I am aware of a few Osteopaths in the Stourbridge, Wollaston, Hagley or Kingswinford area’s that book 20-30 minute appointments. Most Chiropractors in these area’s tend to book 15 minute appointments (or less).

The actual time the appointment takes is obviously irrelevant when compared to the outcome. The big question anyone with low back pain wants to know is which one is best? The research is however, not clear in this respect. Indeed most positive research on low back pain is not done for Osteopathy or Chiropractic, but for spinal manipulation. Even though there are subtle differences in how they both adjust, because they both technically manipulate, any positive manipulative research is considered an asset by both Chiropractors and Osteopaths. Therefore no claims of superiority can be made.

When choosing Osteopathy or Chiropractic, the best advice  is to go with an experienced clinic, or with a recommendation. Both Chiropractors, and Osteopaths, are regulated by the government and both undergo a 5 year training resulting in comparable qualifications.

Stourbridge low back pain relief is a website dedicated to helping people with low back pain. If you are local to Stourbridge, Pedmore, or Kingswinford, we have 14 years experience helping the public get better fast with Chiropractic care.  If you would like to know more about the Chiropractor that works out of Wollaston Chiropractic Clinic, please click here.