What are the differences
The osteopath focuses on the position and the mobility of the organs, the muscle, the fascia and the nervous system. An osteopath applies specific techniques for soft tissues but also uses osteo-articular mobilization on the spine similar to the chiropractic adjustment.
An osteopathic session usually lasts longer than other treatments (from 20 minutes to one hour) because the practitioner is working on multi-level tissue fields and the approach is more global in comparison to a chiropractic session which lasts between 5 at 15 minutes because they are focusing solely on the spinal adjustment.
Chiropractors are trained to take X-rays while osteopaths and physiotherapists are not.
Physiotherapists are specialized in physical functional readaptation using sets of exercises. They work with patients who have had an accident, fractures or neurological disorders.
Is there any crossover?
Osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists all believe that the body has the power to heal itself. Their principles and techniques work to stimulate the body’s self-regulatory system, also referred as the homoeostasis.
An osteopath focuses on the circulatory and nervous system, a global approach which is adjusting or realigning the entire body system, whilst the chiropractor brings his attention mainly to the alignment of the spinal column using chiropractic adjustments.
The style of working also varies amongst practitioners even within the same field. Some osteopaths will have a similar approach to chiroprators emphasising a more manipulative type of treatment and others are much more oriented toward a softer approach; and the reverse is true: some chiropractors will work more like osteopaths.
The patient has to feel comfortable and must establish a trusting relationship with his or her therapist. In both professions the practitioner is concerned only with the welfare of the patient and his/her practice is bound by an ethical code and standards for the protection of the public.