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difference between chiropractic and osteopathy


Osteopathy is a science that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of health problems using movements, manual techniques, and education for the purpose of healing and improving the patient's condition. 

Osteopathy is based on the principle that the individual's well-being depends on the quality of synergy of the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendon tissue, and organ system. 

In 1885. osteopathy was founded by Dr. Andrew Still, an American physician and surgeon who believed that the body has a natural ability to heal from bad health when all segments of the body function effectively. In 1892. Dr. Still formed the first Osteopathy school in the United States. In 1913. osteopathy comes to Europe, where in London one of the first students of dr. Still, John Martin Littlejohn sets European standards for Osteopath. In 1917. he also founded the British School of Osteopathy. 


Chiropractic is a science that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders. Chiropractic treatment usually involves manual therapy with an emphasis on manipulation or HVLA techniques.

Chiropractors, as well as osteopaths, perform a clinical examination of the patient to make an anamnesis, review previous findings of other specialists and make a working diagnosis. After that, through therapy, they initially use gentle techniques in the form of mobilization and tissue relaxation, up to known manipulations that are general public considered chiropractic treatment. 

The basis of chiropractic science was made in 1895. by Dr. David Palmer who also opened the world's first chiropractic school two years later. 

What is the difference between osteopathy and chiropractic?

The primary difference between chiropractic and osteopathy is in the philosophies behind the techniques themselves. 

The chiropractor will focus mainly on the bone-joint system of the patient, while the osteopath will focus more holistically, i.e. he will look at the entire body and mind of the patient and a way to balance them. 

Osteopaths usually rely on a range of approaches and techniques, while chiropractors rely on techniques that directly affect the bone-joint system. 

Osteopaths also work on treatments for organ systems such as the respiratory and digestive systems. 

The ultimate goal of a chiropractor is to make “adjustments” to the spine and other treated joints through the process of re-alignment. Chiropractors believe that if the spine is “aligned” properly, the body can heal itself. 

Osteopathy, on the other hand, completely focuses on the relationship between the musculoskeletal system and the overall health of the person and seeks to harmonize the stability and regeneration of the entire patient's organism.

Difference between chiropractic and osteopathy
Physical therapy

Do I need an osteopath, chiropractor or physiotherapist?

Ultimately, the name of a specialist who deals with the treatment of problems of the musculoskeletal system is irrelevant! 

Advice for all our patients would be to check the level of education and experience of the individual chiropractor/osteopath/physiotherapist that they visit and their experience or specialization for a specific problem that the same patient has. 

All 3 sciences are extremely related and approach the same problems in a similar way with little difference. In the end, the point is to provide the patient with a painless and high-quality movement that he had before the injury or the condition for which he visited the medical professional.

See what the world famous physiotherapist writes on our blog about manipulation of the spine!

Picture of Bsc. PT. Toni Marić

Bsc. PT. Toni Marić

Toni is bacc. physical therapist and the owner of the Ad Sacrum clinic who has been treating top athletes for years and also teaches at the Dry needling courses for physiotherapists.

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