Chiropractic vs Osteopathy

I’ve been lucky enough to have Chiropractic and Osteopathic treatment in the past. I’ve got friends who are Osteopaths and have been lucky enough to visit the British School of Osteopathy as well. In my view there seem to be more similarities between Chiropractic and Osteopathy than there are differences.


Obviously as a trained and registered Chiropractor I know more about Chiropractic, the research into Chiropractic and the training to be a Chiropractor than I do about Osteopathy. I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to try to define or describe what Osteopathy is, or what Osteopaths do or treat. At the bottom of this page I have included the General Osteopathic Council’s definition of Osteopathy as well as the General Chiropractic Council’s definition of Chiropractic.


A friend of mine Michael Wickham D.O, N.D, M.R.N. who is an excellentOsteopath in Peacehaven (Meridian Osteopathic Clinic) summed things up quite well when he came to one of our summer Open Days:


"The two professions are a bit like twins. They are very similar from the outside but have subtle differences when you get to know them. Most of the differences between the two professions are related to our history. The treatment experience depends more on the individual Chiropractor or Osteopath you see. It is important to find someone you like and trust."


It takes a long time to become an Osteopath or Chiropractor. Both are fully regulated, insured and professional.



General Chiropractic Council:
What is Chiropractic?

The General Chiropractic Council




Chiropractors provide care for patients of all ages, who present with a range of acute and chronic conditions.  As well as advice about self-help, exercise, diet and lifestyle, chiropractors often provide support for pain management, sports injuries and active rehabilitation.

Our Patient Information Leaflet gives you an idea of what you can expect when you see a Chiropractor.


Chiropractic is a fast-growing independent health care profession in the United Kingdom  and it is regulated by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). To find a Chiropractor in your area, you can either call the GCC on 0845 601 1796 or use the Search facility on (the GCC’s) website.

Chiropractic is concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal manipulation or adjustment (World Federation of Chiropractic, 1999).

Chiropractors take an integrated and holistic approach to the health needs of their patients, considering physical, psychological and social factors. They provide care and support by reducing pain and disability and by restoring normal function to people with neuro-musculoskeletal disorders.


A Medical Research Council clinical trial and its follow-up, reported in the British Medical Journal in 1990 and 1995, found that chiropractic treatment of back pain was more effective than hospital outpatient treatment. The European Commission Acute Low Back Pain Guidelines includes manipulation as an effective treatment for low back pain. European Guidelines for the management of acute low back pain.


The Department of Health has published A Musculoskeletal Services Framework for England. It summarises the current state of musculoskeletal services and makes recommendations for offering more care closer to home, with improved ways to accesss diagnostic tests. The document is aimed at helping local health communities deliver the maximum wait of 18 weeks by improving orthopaedic services.


The Musculoskeletal Services Framework focuses on the prompt delivery of effective front-line services. To lessen the burden on GPs, it is planned that NHS patients' needs could be assessed by chiropractors, osteopaths or physiotherapists, without a GP referral. The Musculoskeletal Services Framework

General Osetopath Council:
What is Osteopathy?

The General Osteopath Council




Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.


To an Osteopath, for your body to work well, its structure must also work well. So Osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.