Chiropractor vs Osteopath: Pros and Cons of Using Them

The stress and pace of modern-day existence often lead to bad habits among people – be it from sitting at a desk all day or hunched over a computer keyboard or a mobile device. This, in turn, creates a variety of problems related to the back, neck, muscles, joints, and tissue that can cause lasting, long-term discomfort,

Going to your general physician can lead to certain expensive and invasive procedures, including surgery, which many patients with back or neck pain are not keen on. This is why people may seek out chiropractors or osteopaths – two groups of healers that can work wonders.

In this article, we will examine the key issue of Chiropractor vs. Osteopath: The Pros and Cons of Visiting Them. If you’re curious about chiropractic care and are located in the San Diego County area, fill out our form below to get started!

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How are Chiropractors and Osteopaths Different?

Twin Waves Wellness Team

Chiropractors and osteopaths are different in a couple of ways, though both types of treatment are extremely effective at dealing with persistent back and neck pain.

Chiropractors focus their treatment by applying focused pressure on or around the spinal column, including the neck, back, and related areas of the musculoskeletal system. Osteopaths, on the other hand, work on a broader area of the body. Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy (OMT) involves stretching and flexing joints and muscles, with gentle pressure at times.

In the US, osteopaths receive training to become a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO), which allows them to work in closer tandem with conventional Western medicine. Chiropractors typically work in private practices and do not have a medical license.

While both can provide relief for back and neck pain, DOs can work on other treatments such as asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even menstrual pain.

One of the main benefits of visiting a chiropractor is mental and holistic. Over time, reputed publications such as the National Library of Medicine have found that patients believe deeply in the power of chiropractic solutions to better their quality of life.

The discussion above should guide you towards understanding the central issue (Chiropractor vs. Osteopath: The Pros and Cons of Visiting Them) but let’s look at some specifics next.

Chiropractor vs. Osteopath: Pros and Cons of Visiting Them

Tables 1 and 2 below list the major pros and cons of choosing a chiropractor or an osteopath.

Table 1 (Chiropractors)



  • All the chiropractic procedures are natural, non-invasive (no surgical intervention) and involve no medication – which in turn means that there are no chemicals that are impacting the patient’s systems while treatment is proceeding.
  • While direct pressure on specific points does deliver quick results, there are two possibilities: (a) soreness from the treatment, and (b) lingering pains around the areas focused on till such time that the system improves overall.
  • Chiropractors are trained in radiology, and in many cases, they start off with an X-ray of the spinal column (especially the back and neck) to get an understanding of specific structural issues.
  • The cost of treatment may be higher since many insurance companies may not cover chiropractic care.
  • With the strong use of hands and willingness to apply pressure on joints, tissue and muscle, a chiropractor often has the ability to deliver relief at an expedited pace without resorting to any invasive procedures.
  • This is not really a disadvantage, but unlike osteopaths who could focus on other areas of the body, chiropractors will focus on the back and spine only.
  • As mentioned, visits to the chiropractor are considered by patients as an extremely viable treatment for relieving chronic neck and back pain.
  • Chiropractors help patients recover from injury, relieve tension and stress in the affected areas and make the body more resilient and pliable to avoid future injury.
  • The amount of lactic acid in the system is reduced significantly, and better oxygen circulation leaves the body in better shape. This will also lead to the body being less vulnerable to some common ailments like coughs and colds.


Chiropractor versus Osteopath

Table 2 (Osteopaths)



  • Osteopathy is a non-invasive treatment. While it can be used as an adjunct to normal Western medicinal practices, DOs will not be performing surgery. The use of hands and knowledge of the interconnectivity of the different parts of the body are what osteopaths use.
  • Osteopaths are not trained in radiology, so they do not start off with an X-ray. While they can certainly refer a patient to a radiology center, patients may feel that there is an element of trial and error involved in “searching” for a solution.
  • Osteopaths are licensed to practice medicine in the US, which means that they are able to prescribe treatments and medication if required.
  • The above factors impact the reason why GPs may not always recommend osteopathy. If there are substantive underlying conditions that an X-ray, MRI or other examinations may reveal (but which are not detected or properly treated by an osteopath), the result could be quite severe in terms of the well-being of the patient.
  • Having said this, one of the advantages of typical osteopathic treatment is that medication is not prescribed – which means that chemical reactions and/or imbalances are unlikely to happen within the patient’s body during treatment.
  • As such, the scope of what osteopathy can achieve can alternatively be classified as limited (in that DOs can only be effective at treating certain conditions at certain stages of the disease) and also too broad – in that DOs may attempt to treat a wider range of maladies, some of which may need other types of medical intervention.
  • Insurance will cover a visit to a DO just as they do for an MD, so the out-of-pocket costs may be low for a patient.
  • Side effects such as soreness are common.
  • While osteopaths work on the back and neck for sure, they are able to treat a wide range of ailments in other areas, such as sinuses, COPD, anxiety, tennis elbow, menstrual pains and asthma. Some preventive care may also occur.
  • One of the biggest concerns among patients, especially in the absence of tangible proof such as tests and imaging results, is how long the treatment could last. It is entirely possible that patients may need several months of treatment before any improvement is noted.

Your Life can be Remarkably Different

While the tables above provide guidance on the topic of Chiropractor vs. Osteopath: The Pros and Cons of Visiting Them, there is fundamental energy in utilizing the concepts of Eastern philosophy and healing techniques, as chiropractic treatments do. The quality of life of the average patient increases markedly, as discussed here.

The Final Verdict

Twin Waves Wellness Team

We have addressed the core question of Chiropractor vs. Osteopath: The Pros and Cons of Visiting Them.

Both chiropractors and osteopaths have become a permanent fixture among patients who look for a better, more balanced quality of life overall. Free yourself from dependencies on chemicals or invasive procedures, and embrace a holistic approach to medicine and healing.

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