Osteopathy and Chiropractic for low back pain – what is the best choice for you?

 

Low back pain in Stourbridge is a very common reason people have a consultation with either an Osteopath or a Chiropractor. The difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor is a good question, and one that causes a lot of confusion with the general public. Essentially both chiropractors and osteopaths tend to treat very similar conditions with comparable techniques. In general, Chiropractors tend to concentrate on the spine for their diagnosis and treatment. Osteopaths focus more on restoration of blood flow as their goal.

The practical and philosophical differences between Osteopaths and Chiropractors

The differences between Osteopathy and Chiropractic originate from a subtle variance in philosophy. Both Osteopaths and Chiropractors main aim is to alleviate pain using a similar variety of techniques to help symptoms including headaches, migraines, acute low back pain, chronic low back pain, acute neck pain, cervicogenic headaches, Hip Osteoarthritis, adhesive capsulitis pain or dysfunction, migraine headache, tennis elbow, shoulder girdle pain or dysfunction, knee osteoarthritis, or tennis elbow.

A Chiropractors main focus is on the spine and the specific alignment of the vertebrae. These are bone segments that help carry the weight of the body, and protect the spinal cord and the individual nerve roots exiting from the spine.  These nerve branches exit through holes between the vertebrae, sending important messages between the brain and the rest of the skin, muscles, and organs of the body. Normal everyday activity causes the vertebrae to shift and move which can misalign and interfere with the nerve messages travelling among them. This interference causes problems, and frequently pain in the body.

The main goal of both Chiropractors  and Osteopaths is to relieve patients of aches and pain leading to faster and more effective body healing. Both a Chiropractor and an Osteopath can help people with a variety of symptoms and essentially help people with very similar symptoms.

How do these differences between Osteopaths and Chiropractors affect the patients?

Although there are some differences, patient experiences with Osteopaths and Chiropractors in Stourbridge or indeed anywhere in the UK will be very similar.  During patient diagnosis Osteopaths and Chiropractors both use palpation (touch) and visual inspection (observation).  Occasionally other diagnostic procedures can also be used, such as X-rays, urine tests, MRI scans, and blood tests. Osteopaths tend to place more importance on the physical examination and if required will generally refer patients on for more diagnostic procedures.

A patient’s treatment at an Osteopathic clinic can vary greatly. Osteopaths employ a number of techniques in order to influence the body’s healing system. These include: soft tissue, muscle work, joint articulation and mobilisation/manipulation.

One of the techniques used by Chiropractors is to adjust the vertebrae, allowing it to return to its proper alignment along the spinal column permitting improved nerve transmission.  During an adjustment, the Chiropractor applies pressure to the bone, restoring it from its improper position, which in turn helps restore nerve flow to the skin, muscles, and organs of the body. The adjustment does not hurt and patients do sometimes hear “popping” noises. These are due to small pockets of gas being released from within the joint capsules as the joint moves during the adjustment, (which is completely normal). This technique is generally considered by patients to be a more gentle method of ‘adjusting’ in comparison to the manipulation technique used by an Osteopath. 

The length of treatment typically varies between Osteopaths and Chiropractors.  In general the Chiropractor tends to see patients more frequently and appointments are usually shorter.  The practitioner focuses mainly on adjusting the spine (this does not mean to say that chiropractors don’t adjust other areas), however as the muscles connected to a misaligned vertebra can pull the bone back out of place, it may take a few adjustments for the spine to settle into its proper alignment.  As Osteopaths work with soft tissue, more time is required with a patient at each visit.

It is important to remember that whatever the differences, both Chiropractors and Osteopaths treat the same area’s of the body and use principally similar manipulative techniques. Each Chiropractor and Osteopath is unique, and their style is a function of their training and experience.  Practitioners of both disciplines have their own methods, from what they focus on to how they apply treatment, which can vary considerably.  It is important for a patient to find a practice that suits his or her personal needs, regardless of the title.  The patient’s health is paramount.

Every year patients from all over Stourbridge and the surrounding area enjoy Chiropractic or Osteopathy. If you are suffering from pain in any way and are considering care for your lower back, don’t hesitate to book an appointment to see if you can be helped.  Pain is usually a sign that something is abnormal.

 The role of the Osteopath and the Chiropractor is not only to help relieve pain but to significantly improve the quality of life for all their patients. Osteopathy and Chiropractic is available locally in Stourbridge, or Wollaston , Oldswinford, Pedmore, Wordsley, Amblecote, Hagley, Kingswinford, Kinver, Dudley, and Birmingham, Enville, bridgenorth, Kidderminster, Wombourne.

Common spelling mistakes of “Osteopath” are as follows: osteopat, ostoepath, oteopath, osteofath, osteophath, ozeopath, ozeofath, ozteopat, osteopaht, oteopah, oteopat, ozeo, ostoe.

 

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