Chiropractors and osteopaths
represent different schools or disciplines of physical therapy. Chiropractic and osteopathy
are both manipulation-based therapies used for treating problems
associated with bones, joints and the back. The two therapies have much
in common, but chiropractors tend to focus on the joints of the spine,
and the nervous system. Osteopaths (D.O.s) put equal emphasis on the
joints, surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments.
chiropractic or osteopaths believe that many health problems can be
caused by poor posture and misalignment of muscles and joints (with
chiropractic, it is particularly spine). They suggest that if the
structure of the body is improved and the spine put back into
alignment, the function of the body improves, problems will be
alleviated and good health will be restored. Thus, osteopaths and
view the body as a self-contained,
self-healing, fully interconnected unit.
The first proponent
of this philosophy, Andrew Taylor Still, is credited to found
osteopathy in America in 1874. 21 years later, Daniel David
Palmer, a former student of Dr. Still, founded the chiropractic
discipline (*). The differences between osteopathy and chiropractic
stem from a rather subtle variance in philosophy.
Are they effective?
While osteopathy and chiropractic are well accepted by many
conventional medical practitioners, the scientific evidence for them is
relatively sparse. Very few medical studies have compared the two
therapies with each other. The evidence may be stronger for chiropractic than osteopathy, with
some studies showing that chiropractic may be effective for short-term
pain relief in acute low back pain.
There have also been several studies of spinal manipulation and
mobilisation techniques (by osteopaths, chiropractors, physiotherapists
and MDs) for lower back pain. They suggest that the techniques, do
provide short-term relief from pain, and improvement in mobility.
(*) Barrie Savory. The Good Back
Guide (London: Century), 2006.
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