Written by Mr Michael Fatica for Doctify

Knowing what kind of health specialist to go to for what complaint can be something of a mystery. Here to explain the difference between an Osteopath and Chiropractor and a little more about the history of Osteopathy is Mr Michael Fatica, the founding Osteopath of The Mayfair Clinic.

Where does Osteopathy come from?

Osteopathy was developed by A.T. Still a medical doctor who founded Osteopathy in the United States just before the turn of the 1900s. It was originally used to treat everything a normal medical doctor might treat. However, the manual approach to osteopathy has always been something that sets it apart. The main goal is to remove barriers to healing and restore normal circulation.

What is the main principle?

The understanding that the body has it’s own innate (built in) ability to heal itself. By removing any barriers blocking natural healing, through movement, normal circulation can be restored to a particular the area of the body. And the immune system can effectively be employed.

Without this effective delivery of nutrients and immune cells to an injured or infected site the body, it cannot heal or recover. For example, a stiff neck may reduce the adequate drainage and blood supply to an injured muscle or joint. By releasing the joint and the muscle, the damage will be able to heal.

What is the difference between Osteopaths and Chiropractors?

Although the two professions are “cut from the same cloth”, there has been much conflict between the two, even today. However, essentially both treat the same conditions and, in my experience, you get osteopaths that treat “like chiropractors” and chiropractors that practice more “like osteopaths”.

The distinction between the two does seem less clean nowadays. I, for one, think that both have great aspects and principles and both have areas that could be worked on with some quiet reflection. I have personally worked alongside Chiropractors for much of my professional life, hence my confidence in commenting on both.

Can you tell us a little more about modern Osteopathy?

With regulation and the strict requirement for evidence osteopaths are no longer allowed to “treat pathologies”, you wouldn’t go to see an osteopath for a bacterial infection. That said, founder A.T. Still and his early pupils would use osteopathic technique to treat almost any ailment.

Nowadays, Osteopaths concern themselves overall with the treatment of the Musculoskeletal system, that is the joints of both the spine, and the limbs. Most commonly, however osteopaths are known to treat back pain, and invariably are very good at doing so – but I may be a little biased!

What would a trip to the Osteopath usually entail?

A typical visit to your osteopath should involve a thorough case history and examination. This can include special joint testing where relevant. On occasion, referral for imaging may be required. At The Mayfair Clinic, we have taken treatment into the 21st century and use therapeutic technology to enhance the effectiveness of our treatments beyond that of the techniques of the 1900’s.

However, as with most patients with back pain, do expect to have some homework. Correcting some lifestyle habits will be vital for your long term health and wellbeing.

 


 

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