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Osteopath VS Chiropractor: Treatment similarities and differences

    Osteopath VS Chiropractor

    Osteopath VS Chiropractor: Treatment similarities and differences

    When it comes to alternative medicine, you’ll find a variety of options and each having specialised techniques for treatment. The same applies to chiropractors and osteopaths. While they do share some similarities, this article will help you understand the differences and the treatment types.

    Osteopaths and chiropractors look after the health of your back (spine)

    We are all accustomed to certain lifestyles, and some of these include habits that create bad posture. A good example of this is looking at a mobile phone, or sitting at a desk. Taking care of your posture is very important to prevent future back issues, as well as joint and muscle pain.

    Sometimes when our spine is misaligned, it could lead to “miscommunications” between the nervous system and the rest of our organs. The nervous system starts from the brain and moves down the spine, sending signals throughout the body. That said, taking care of your spinal health will help to improve overall wellness. This principal is true for both chiropractors and osteopaths.


    Chiropractitioners focus on the musculoskeletal system and the neurological system. These work in sync with each other and as mentioned earlier, helps with communications in the body (chemical/hormonal balances).

    Chiropractors use spinal adjustment techniques to align the spine. This technique releases pressure from the spinal nerves. Sometimes when pressure is exerted onto the nerves due to an injury or strain, it could result in pinched nerve or “nerve compression.” The machinery used in chiropractic includes x-rays and MRI scans to help determine the root of the condition.

    Training for chiropractors
    Chiropractic is huge and steadily growing in South Africa as a means to get effective treatment for joint pain, back pain, and spinal conditions. Chiropractors can get their degree abroad, or study at the Durban University of Technology or the University of Johannesburg.

    After qualifying, they will then be registered with the Chiropractic Association of South Africa (CASA) and the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa. Chiropractors focus on helping their patients get pain relief in a more natural way. They help the body to tap into its inherent healing capabilities.

    What do chiropractors treat?

    Chiropractors treat many things related to neurological and musculoskeletal systems including:

    • Tension headaches the (World Health Organisation) says headaches affects almost half of the world’s adults at least once in their lives.
    • Joint pain (arthritis and non-arthritic pain)
    • Back pain (cervical spine, thoracic, and lumbar)
    • Scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine)
    • Sciatica (pain radiating through hip and back or the leg due to a compressed nerve)
    • Whiplash (neck pain due to forceful back and forth movement)
    • Sports injuries (various)
    • Sprains (various)
    • Tendinitis (tendon inflammation or swelling)
    • Cholic (could be as a result of muscle contractions, causes continuous crying)


    One of the key focuses in osteopath practice is that of the musculoskeletal system and also the body as a whole.

    Training for osteopaths
    Osteopaths in South Africa are registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA) and have received training in either the UK or elsewhere in Europe. At the Osteopathic Association of South Africa (OASA), you’ll find more details, but South Africa doesn’t have training in the country for this profession.

    What do osteopaths treat?

    Just like chiropractors, osteopaths also treat musculoskeletal problems but also help to treat the whole body as a result.


    Unlike chiropractors, osteopaths don’t adjust and manipulate the spine. Instead they focus more on soft tissue massage and muscle manipulation.

      • Joint pain
      • Sports injury pain
      • Improved blood circulation
      • Improved mobility in joints

    But apart from musculoskeletal problems, osteopaths also treat the whole person. Using this non-invasive technique, they can also prescribe medication where it is needed.

    Both professionals are excellent choices if you want an alternative means for healing and wellness. Many people base their decision on personal preference. Either way, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a more natural and non-invasive alternative medicinal solution. If you need to make a booking with the Chiropractor head over to our online bookings page