Osteopath or Chiropractor?

spineWhat is the difference? They seem so similar. Both disciplines started in the late 1800s and each practice has its dedicated following.

Ultimately it is the quality and experience of the practitioner that will count more than which discipline they employ. I can offer you some excellent referrals to both osteopaths and chiropractors in Wellington to start your inquiries.

A brief overview from BackCare, the UK Charity for Healthier Backs, about them both has this to say:


  • Chiropractors tend to use more diagnostic procedures, such as X-rays and MRI scans, blood and urine tests.
  •    Case history taking and orthopaedic examination are very similar for both professions and both use movement palpation (feeling the spine as it moves) to assist in diagnosing where there are abnormalities of movement.


  • Around 50% of patients consulting an Osteopath receive manipulation whereas about 90% of patients receive a similar treatment called an “adjustment” if they consult a Chiropractor.
  • When a patient is manipulated or adjusted, the joint is moved just beyond its normal range of movement in an attempt to restore normal function.   This obviously has to be done without spraining the joint and this is one of the many skills that Chiropractors and Osteopaths spend several years learning when training.
  • Mobilisation, which consists of stretching the joint rhythmically within its normal range of movement, is used more by Osteopaths than Chiropractors.
  • Both disciplines have similar methods of treating muscular, postural, cranial and paediatric problems, though the terminology used by each profession is different.