Chiro Vs Osteo: What Is The Difference?

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Your body is like a finely tuned orchestra, with many systems working harmoniously to help you smoothly move through daily life. Like an orchestra, however, things can sometimes get a little off-key. It only takes one broken or mistuned instrument to throw the whole system off. 

The human body is unimaginably complex, so much so that it’s nothing short of miraculous that we don’t break down constantly. When something does go wrong, it can have a profound impact on our lives. Fortunately, we have a vast range of conventional and alternative therapies to help us on the road to recovery. With such an abundance of choices, knowing which route to take can sometimes be overwhelming

The number of people looking outside the conventional medical fraternity for ways to alleviate pain or injury has been growing steadily for decades. Complementary and alternative therapies such as Chiro, Physio and Osteo are no longer fringe concepts. Yet, many people are still in the dark when it comes to understanding the difference between them. This is particularly true when it comes to differentiating between Chiro and Osteo.

In this blog, we’ve broken down all the significant differences between osteopathy and chiropractic care to help you make informed decisions about your health. While these two modalities focus primarily on treating health conditions through manipulation of the musculoskeletal system, there are many levels of differentiation.

Let’s dive into the world of chiropractic and osteopathy, exploring their unique characteristics and how they each contribute to the health and well-being of one in four adult Australians each year!

Chiropractic Vs Osteo: Education & Training

The journey to becoming a chiropractor or osteo in Australia is rigorous and involves extensive education and training. To become a registered chiropractor, you must complete an accredited five-year university chiropractic program consisting of a five-year Bachelor of Chiropractic or a three-year Bachelor’s degree followed by a two-year Masters degree. By contrast, Osteos are required to obtain a 3-year degree in Health & Applied sciences. While not compulsory, most practitioners choose to continue with a two-year Masters degree.

Numerous respected universities offer accredited degrees in either or both fields, so prospective patients can rest assured that their provider has received top-notch education and training.

Once qualified, all Aussie chiropractors and osteos must register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to ensure oversight. Throughout their careers, they are also required to undertake 20-25 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) per year, to upgrade their skills and stay on top of the latest research. 

As you can see, the requirements to qualify and practice in either field are extremely robust, so you can rest assured that you’re in safe hands when considering Chiropractic or Osteo care as part of your wellness plan.

The Difference Between Chiro and Osteo

Philosophical Foundation

Chiropractic Care: Developed by D.D. Palmer in the 1890s, chiropractic care primarily focuses on the relationship between the nervous system and the spine, emphasising spinal alignment and manipulation to facilitate optimal health.

Osteopathy: Founded by Andrew Taylor Still in the late 19th century, osteopathy emphasises the body’s ability to heal itself and focuses on the musculoskeletal system’s interrelation with overall health.

Treatment Approach

Chiropractic Care: Chiropractors primarily use spinal adjustments or manipulations to correct misalignments (subluxations) in the spine, aiming to restore proper nerve function and alleviate pain. Techniques may include manual adjustments, instrument-assisted manipulation, or specialised tables. Want to learn more about these spinal adjustments and their far-reaching benefits? Visit our comprehensive guide to chiropractic adjustments.  

Osteopathy: Osteopathic physicians generally combine osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) with traditional medical interventions. OMT involves gentle manipulation, stretching, and massage techniques to relieve pain, improve mobility, and enhance the body’s natural healing processes.

Chiro vs. Osteo: Patient Experience

Chiropractic Care: Patients generally receive focused care centred on spinal adjustments to address specific musculoskeletal complaints, such as back or neck pain. Chiropractic sessions typically involve hands-on manipulation of the spine and surrounding tissues to restore proper alignment and function. This can assist with pain reduction, improved mobility, and greater overall well-being.

Many patients report that they find Chiro treatments relaxing and rejuvenating. While it may take a little bit of getting used to, you’ll soon acclimatise to the experience of allowing your chiropractor to do the work while you enjoy all those deeply satisfying cracks and pops. Treatment sessions are typically short and sweet, making chiropractic care an excellent option for busy professionals. 

Many Chiros, including us here at Be Fit Chiro, include soft tissue therapy along with posture analysis, spinal adjustments, and other evidence-based treatments. Each treatment plan is custom-designed for the patient and based on thorough testing to ensure it is perfectly suited to your needs and wellness goals. Our aim is to uncover and treat the root cause of your symptoms, helping you find long-lasting freedom of movement and relief from pain. 

If you’ve been considering trying chiropractic care but are a little unsure, we’re happy to explain what to expect on your first visit to Be Fit Chiro

Osteopathy: Patients usually experience a broader treatment style, with many other methods used alongside OMT sessions. As with chiropractic care, the techniques should result in improved mobility, pain relief, and overall well-being.

In an osteopathy appointment, you’ll generally have to do some work with your practitioner, participating in stretches and other exercises. Sessions are often longer than chiropractic appointments. However, this depends significantly on the individual healthcare provider.

Patient stretching with osteopath.

Which is Better; Chiro or Osteo? 

While chiropractic and osteo share many similarities, their approaches differ. Chiropractors primarily focus on the spinal area and other joints, using quick movements to reduce pain and improve function. However, every practitioner is different. Some osteopaths and chiropractors whip patients in and out in under 30 minutes, while others take their time, offering a more detailed and holistic approach. 

Though we definitely fall into the holistic category at Be Fit Chiro, it’s interesting to note that even the more rapid approach to chiropractic care can deliver positive results. A recent meta-analysis published in Acta Biomedica found that “spinal manipulative therapy has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment for acute and chronic back pain.” These researchers also found that chiropractic benefits can extend beyond the immediate treatment area. For example, “Thoracic spinal manipulation can lead to different responses involving the sympathetic nervous system, the endocrine system and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis.” 

Though further research is necessary in this area, there is evidence that chiropractic care can enhance the body’s ability to self-regulate and heal. Chiropractic care can improve the function of many of your organs and systems by restoring proper spinal alignment, reducing nerve interference, and promoting better communication between your brain and your body.

Our experience has shown that these benefits are even more profound when chiropractic treatment forms part of a holistic approach to treating the root causes of your condition. If you’re ready to get to the bottom of your pain and restore quality of life, make an appointment at Be Fit Chiro today. You can book online in just a few clicks or give us a quick call at (03) 9118-0619. Either way, we’ll work together to bring you the immediate and long-term results you deserve. 

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99 reviews on
Phil Dyer
Phil Dyer
Be fit chiro has been a game change having suffered chronic neck and back pain after two slipped discs the treatment and sessions have helped me gain knowledge and confidence back , can’t thank them enough
munsala cedric kadile
munsala cedric kadile
Great place Anthony has been very helpful and understanding helping me to get better through this journey. Highly recommend.
S Simon
S Simon
I've been coming to be fit Chiro for a short while now to help with my neck and back pain. Dr Anthony recommended the water pillow he sells in his practice to help - at first I was a little skeptical but after 3 weeks of use, I don't wake up with a stiff neck or neck pain any more. Super easy to use and you can change how firm you want it depending on how much water you fill inside. Thanks for the suggestion! I've told all my girlfriends about it as well!
Juan Carlo Ala
Juan Carlo Ala
Very knowledgeable. Helped me quite a bit so far with managing and reducing pain
Nadeen Kattouf
Nadeen Kattouf
Very nice service and helpful. Great diagnostic evidence based care. After 1 month, feeling so much better with less pain. Highly recommend Dr Anthony.
Jenny Thirgood
Jenny Thirgood
Literally changed my back pain within a week, they really take the time to ensure you understand what’s happening and to educate you on your skeletal health, subluxation etc. cannot recommend Be Fit enough, super friendly, efficient and personable too
Domenico Spica
Domenico Spica
Highly recommend it . Dr Anthony is amazing, i’m so happy with the progress.
Alisa I
Alisa I
I first visited Dr Anthony with hip pain that I’ve dealt with for years, and the pain completely went away after the first few sessions. I’ve been seeing him for a month now and have only noticed more improvements in my sleep, exercise and general wellbeing. Would definitely recommend as his approach to treatment is very thorough and he makes sure that you understand what’s going on throughout the process!