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Chiropractors vs. Osteopaths: What Is the Difference?

February 18, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — holisticmedicine @ 1:25 pm
Doctor carefully adjusting patient’s spine

If you are struggling with headaches, bodily aches and pains, or other symptoms, you may be searching for a care provider who can help you find relief. Both chiropractors and osteopaths offer treatments that might help. But which should you visit? This blog post provides a brief comparison of chiropractors vs. osteopaths.

Education and Credentials

Osteopaths, also known as osteopathic physicians, must complete medical school. When they finish their formal education, they can be licensed as a physician or surgeon in all 50 U.S. states. A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree is considered equivalent to a Doctor of Medicine degree.

Chiropractors also undergo extensive education, and they are considered to be physicians. However, they cannot write prescriptions or perform procedures that are not directly related to their area of expertise.


Osteopathic physicians focus on treating their patients from head-to-toe. They offer therapies and treatments that can address musculoskeletal conditions, anxiety, chronic pain, and numerous other health problems. Often, they are considered to be holistic practitioners because they pay close attention to how any treatment might affect, not just a patient’s symptoms, but also their overall, long-term wellness.

Chiropractors can also diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions. They aim to help people find relief from issues like neck, back, and joint pain. Their extensive knowledge of how the spine works, and how it can be manipulated to produce positive effects, allows them to serve their patients well.


Osteopathic physicians can use a wide range of techniques to treat their patients. For example, they may use osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), which involves gently manipulating the body to promote healthy joints and muscles. They may also prescribe medications, provide nutritional counseling, and offer other services to support their patients’ well-being.

Chiropractors may also use a variety of techniques in their practice. However, their primary focus is on manipulating the spine to promote its proper alignment. In some cases, the movements used in chiropractic care look similar to what you would experience during an OMT session, although the nuances involved may be quite different.

Treatment Experience

When you visit an osteopath, you can expect an in-depth treatment experience. The doctor will carefully learn about your symptoms, ask you some questions about your lifestyle, and perform physical assessments as necessary, all with the goal of designing a comprehensive treatment plan.

Chiropractic visits, on the other hand, are usually shorter and more focused because chiropractors tend to zero in on spine health and related issues.

Which Should You Visit?

Whether you should visit an osteopath or a chiropractor depends on your unique circumstances. In most cases, it would be beneficial to start your care with an osteopath because of their holistic approach to care. Hopefully, you will feel better soon!

Meet the Practice

Dr. Derek Murphy is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine who is proud to serve the greater Orlando area. He offers a range of services in a welcoming environment. To learn more about how he and our team may be able to serve you, contact our office at 407-319-7541.

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