What’s the difference between a Chiropractor and an Osteopath?

Jan 25, 2021

A question that we get asked a lot is what is the difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath?

With so many manual and complementary therapies around it can be difficult to know which one to choose for your particular problem.

Many therapies share similar values but use different techniques and principles. We’re here to help you understand a bit more with the help from the experts. The Sciatic nerve starts as several separate nerve roots in your low back, these join together to form the largest nerve in your body. The sciatic nerve feeds messages from your brain and back to your legs and back again. This allows you to move your legs and to feel a sensation when something touches your legs and feet.



Chiropractic is a hands-on manual therapy that uses various techniques to gently manipulate and realign the spine over time. The main focus of chiropractic is to maintain the function and integrity of the nervous system, which is encased in your spine, allowing the body and brain to send nerve signals to each other effectively and without interference.

Chiropractic manipulation is called an ‘adjustment’ which assists the painful areas of your spine to move and function better. This improved function allows the body to naturally begin and maintain the healing process.

The chiropractic profession is very well established in America and Australia but not so well known here in the UK. There are approximately 80,000 registered chiropractors world-wide. Chiropractors are trained in and work to educate patients in promoting a healthy lifestyle to reduce stress and prevent injury to contribute to a healthy, we-functioning body.


Osteopathy is described by BUPA as looking at “ the health of your body as a whole and aiming to make sure your bones, muscles, and joints are functioning smoothly together. They focus on manual therapies to get your body back to a state of balance”.

Osteopathy, also called Osteopathic medicine is a form of manual treatment founded in the late 19th century. It has existed in the UK since 1920.

Osteopathy emphasises the structural and functional integrity of the body and its tendency for self-healing. Osteopaths focus on the musculoskeletal, visceral, and cranial systems. Treatment techniques are applied to a range of presentations including back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, and digestive issues. Osteopaths also see pregnant patients and babies using gentle techniques for a range of problems.



As you can see there is very little difference between a Chiropractor and an Osteopath. Both use manual therapy to restore the structure and function of the body to heal itself.

Deciding which treatment is right for you is difficult, so we’d advise getting a consultation and speaking directly to the practitioner who will be able to advise you appropriately on your specific needs.

The most important thing is, if you’re reading this it shows you are taking your health seriously and that’s amazing! Live your life pain-free and do the things you love!