Chiropractic & Osteopathy
Back or neck pain are very common reasons for people to have a consultation with either a chiropractor or osteopath. The difference between a chiropractor and osteopath often causes some confusion with the general public. Chiropractors and osteopaths tend to treat very similar conditions with comparable techniques. In general chiropractors tend to concentrate on the spine for diagnosis and treatment whereas osteopaths focus more on restoration of blood flow as their goal. The differences between chiropractic and osteopathy originate from a subtle difference in philosophy. The main aim of both chiropractors and osteopaths is to alleviate pain including back, neck and joint pain as well as many other musculoskeletal conditions using a similar variety of techniques.
A chiropractor’s main focus is on the spine and the specific alignment of the vertebrae. These are the 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.
The main goal of both chiropractors and osteopaths is to relieve patients of aches and pains. Both a chiropractor and osteopath can help people with a variety of symptoms and essentially help people with very similar symptoms. At Bradford House Chiropractic Clinic in Winchester, our chiropractors treat patients with back pain, neck pain, joint pain, neck-related headaches, muscle spasms and many other musculoskeletal conditions.
A patient’s experience with an osteopath or chiropractor will be very similar. During diagnosis osteopaths and chiropractors both use palpation (touch) and visual inspection (observation). Occasionally other diagnostic procedures can also be used or referred for, such as X-rays, MRI scans and blood tests.
One of the treatment techniques used by chiropractors is to “adjust” or “manipulate” the vertebrae. During an adjustment the chiropractor applies a specific and controlled pressure to the bone which can help to improve its movement pattern. The adjustment does not usually hurt and patients 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 and is normal. Some chiropractors and osteopaths also used equipment such as ultrasound, electrotherapy machines, laser etc to help treat an injured area.
It is important to remember that whatever the differences, both chiropractors and osteopaths treat the same areas of the body and use principally similar manipulative techniques. Each chiropractor and osteopath is unique and their style is a result of their training and experience. Practitioners of both disciplines have their own methods ranging 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 their needs, regardless of the title.
Physiotherapy is the most commonly known form of ‘manual therapy’ due to its prevalence within the NHS. Physiotherapists specialise in the rehabilitation of acute and chronic joint injury, often using a variety of prescribed exercises that the patient carries out when away from the clinician. Physiotherapists also regularly use machines such as ultrasound or TENS machines to treat an injured area.
NHS physiotherapists tend not to have diagnostic input, the diagnosis and treatment request tending to emanate from an orthopaedic surgeon, consultant rheumatologist or GP. As a result their treatment will also tend to be more focused on a specific issue rather than truly integrative such as in the case of treatment by a chiropractor or osteopath.
The role of the chiropractor, osteopath and physiotherapist is not only to help relieve pain but to drastically improve the quality of life for all their patients.
If you require treatment and live in the Winchester and Hampshire areas then ring the Bradford House Chiropractic Clinic on 01962 861188 or Contact us now to book your initial appointment.