Chiropractor Vs Osteopath

Osteo vs Chiro: Which One Should You See for Your Pain?

If you suffer from back pain, you’re not alone. Back pain is the highest cause of disability globally, and is frequently brought up with General Practitioners.

While the causes of back pain may be different, from sports injuries to pregnancy or poor posture, one thing remains the same: it’s important to find the right health practitioner for you. 

So, osteo vs Chiro, which one should you see and when? 

With so many options available to you, it’s common to experience some confusion when it comes to knowing how each health service differs and what they offer, especially since the injuries and pain they treat tend to overlap.

In this blog we’ll explore what an osteo is and what a chiro is, when to utilise which form of support, and how to find the right health practitioner for you. 

Osteo vs Chiro: What is an osteo?

Let’s begin with an osteo. An osteo, or an osteopath, is a health practitioner that utilises a holistic approach to reduce pain and mobility issues.

Osteopathy is grounded in the philosophy of treating your body as one unit, focusing on how your body moves and functions, and providing relief and a diagnosis once the whole body has been evaluated.

They’ll take into consideration your skeletal function, your muscles, connective tissue and nerves, your circulation and your internal organs.

Once the source of pain has been pinpointed, they’ll use a range of techniques to provide some pain relief and rehabilitation.

These techniques include massage, myosascial release, stretching, joint manipulation, visceral manipulation, needling, lifestyle changes and exercise plans.

Osteo vs Chiro: What is a chiro?

You may be wondering how a chiro, or chiropractor, differs. It begins with the model of treatment that informs chiropractic work.

While osteopathy looks at the body as a whole, the chiropractic model is grounded in the belief that the issues that arise in the nervous system, whether it be pain or inflammation, is a result of a misaligned musculoskeletal system.

Therefore, chiropractors focus on the musculoskeletal system to diagnose, treat and prevent a range of problems.

The techniques you can expect to receive when visiting a chiropracter include spinal manipulation and realignment, stretching, massage, mobilisation, soft tissue techniques, rehabilitation, lifestyle adjustments and exercise prescription.

Osteo vs Chiro: Which one should you choose?

If you’re experiencing pain that both osteos and chiros treat, and aren’t sure which health practitioner to utilise, it’s best to speak with your general practitioner (GP).

Your GP will be able to refer you to the best health practitioner to diagnose and treat your injury. They’ll do this by taking into consideration the source of your symptoms, your lifestyle and your preferences. 

It may even be a beneficial idea to trial a few options to find which one works best for you.

Whether it’s an osteo you choose to see or a chiro, you should seek the attention of a health practitioner if you experience any of the following:

  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle or joint pain that has been impacting your daily life and/or activities
  • Waking up from pain or discomfort
  • The problem is worsening or has lasted for longer than 6 weeks
  • Your treatment plan is no longer working.

When should I see an osteopath?

Back or neck pain

An osteopath can provide relief to any neck or back pain you may be experiencing.

They will identify the area or cause of pain, and treat the tissue and surrounding area to alleviate your symptoms.

Headaches or migraines

If you’re suffering from headaches or migraines, visitng an osteo may be a wise idea.

Your osteo will be able to provide some hands-on relief alongside any recommendations or advice for managing symptoms at home.

Mobility issues in the knees, hips or shoulders

Mobility issues, both chronic or acute, are something an osteo may provide support for.

They will assess where the cause of your pain and lack of mobility stems from, and provide you with a treatment plan to navigate your management and recovery.

Sports and work injuries

Alongside everyday overuse or wear and tear, you should also visit an osteo if you’ve experienced a work or sport related injury. 

When to see a chiropractor?


It’s common to think of a chiropractor when you think of posture, because often times, they’re the best solution for the problem.

A chiropractor will adjust your posture through their range of techniques, including realignment, and provide you with a list of exercises you should complete regularly to strengthen your muscles to support a more aligned posture. 

Musculoskeletal problems

A chiropractor is the health practitioner of choice for people suffering from musculoskeletal problems like scoliosissciatica and sacroiliac pain

Regular adjustments and spinal manipulation often form part of the long-term treatment plan, especially for those experiencing chronic pain and discomfort. 

Pain in the back, shoulders, chest, neck, wrist, ankles or hips

A chiropractor can assist with a range of musculoskeletal problems from your neck all the way to your ankles. Alongside adjustments and stretching, your chiropractor will work with you to create a treatment plan that works for your lifestyle. 

Joint pain

If you are experiencing joint pain or stiffness, it’s recommended that you visit a chiropractor.

Your pain may stem from a range of causes, including reduced movement or the overuse of a muscle or joint. 

Your chiropractor can help find the cause of pain and assess the best way to treat it and maintain your progress. 

Headaches and migraines

You’d be surprised how often migraines and headaches are caused by tension in the muscles or even musculoskeletal problems, especially in the neck.

If you’re suffering from headaches or migraines, and can find little to no relief in pain medication, it may be a good idea to see a chiro. 

Not only will they realign your body, but stretch and soothe your muscles to release any tension or knots that may be causing your headaches or migraines.

Pregnancy-related pain

If you are pregnant and experiencing pain, then you may want to consider booking in a consultation with a chiropractor. 

Your chiro can provide some hands-on relief alongside a treatment plan that includes at-home exercises or lifestyle adjustments. 

Sports and work injuries

Whether it’s the football field or the office desk that has caused some pain or discomfort in your muscles or joints, it’s beneficial to get on top of injuries as soon as possible, and a chiropractor can help with that.

A combination of manual adjustments and realignment, alongside soft tissue techniques and stretches can help relieve any pain, while a long-term treatment plan can address your rehabilitation journey.

Can You Wear A Posture Brace To Bed

How to pick a practitioner

Whichever health practice you land on, whether it be osteo vs chiro or vice versa, the journey doesn’t end there. 

Part of long term pain relief and rehabilitation is finding the right practitioner for you. This may include exploring a few different clinics until you find a practitioner you like working with.

There are a few things you should take into consideration during this process. 

Firstly, you should consider how long they’ve been practising for. An established practitioner will have more experience and efficiency, and have a stronger grasp on nuances than a novice practitioner may have.

You should also consider how they treat you. Do they actively listen and let you guide the session? Do they empathise with you and treat you with respect? Do you feel comfortable and in safe hands? These are all crucial to receiving the best personalised treatment for you.

Lastly, you should consider the impact their treatment has on you. Has their treatment been effective? Are they supporting you with a long term plan? Have they been utilising a hands-on approach alongside lifestyle adjustments and prescription exercises?

These are just some of the fundamental questions you should be asking yourself when landing on the right health practitioner for you, regardless if it’s an osteo vs chiro.

Among the plethora of health care professionals, chiros, or chiropractors, hold a special place. Chiropractic care is rooted in the understanding that the body’s structure and function are deeply interconnected. In particular, chiropractors emphasise the relationship between the spine and the nervous system, and how this relationship affects our health.

Chiropractic adjustments are a key component of the care provided by chiros. These are manual techniques, often delivered using the hands, to align the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine. These adjustments can alleviate pain, improve function, and support the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

In comparison, physiotherapists focus on enhancing mobility and function through a combination of exercises, manual therapy, and education about movement and injury prevention. While their work often overlaps with chiropractors, the focus and approach can vary.

To find chiros near you, consider using health care directories, speaking with your general practitioner for a referral, or asking family and friends for recommendations. Once you find potential practitioners, be sure to research their qualifications, reviews, and the range of services they offer.

When considering chiropractic care, it’s essential to check your health insurance coverage. While many insurance plans do cover chiropractic care, the extent of the coverage can vary. It could be limited to a certain number of visits per year or only cover a portion of the cost.

Remember, in the journey of health and wellness, the choice of a practitioner is uniquely personal. Only you can decide what feels right for your body and aligns with your health goals. Both chiropractors and physiotherapists offer valuable services, but your specific needs and preferences will determine which is best suited for you.

Osteo vs Chiro: The takeaway

While osteos and chiros may treat similar pains and ailments, the philosophies that underpin them set them apart from each other.

An osteo looks at the body as a whole, and provides a treatment based on a whole-body diagnosis.

While a chiropractor operates on a basis that most pain to the nervous system is a direct result of the musculoskeletal system. Therefore treatment is rooted in the realignment and readjustment of the spine.

Therefore, a chiro (vs osteo)  is often the chosen health practitioner for issues surrounding posture, neck, back, chest or wrist pain, joint pain, pain during pregnancy and any work or sport related injury.

If you are looking for a dedicated chiropractor with decades of experience, you can contact our expert team today.