Osteopaths and chiropractors



I wasn't able to find the translation and definition of the words "osteopath" and "chiropractor."

I would like to know what such people do and what is the aim of their work.

kogut lerge
Posted 22 February 2003

An osteopath and a chiropractor are both people who work in the medical profession. People who see chiropractors aren't "sick." They have aches and pains, but "sick" usually means diseases, germs, viruses - not what chiropractors treat. Osteopaths deal with bones -  "osteo" means "bones." An osteopath comes closer to a medical doctor in what services he/she can perform: prescribing medications, performing surgery, etc. A chiropractor cannot perform those services. The main thing a chiropractor does is to manipulate the bones in the back.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Houghton Mifflin, 1996), "osteopathy," the field that osteopaths work in, is defined thus:

"A system of medicine based on the theory that disturbances in the musculoskeletal system affect other bodily parts, causing many disorders that can be corrected by various manipulative techniques in conjunction with conventional medical, surgical, pharmacological, and other therapeutic procedures."

Here is the definition of "chiropractic," the field that chiropractors work in:

"A system of therapy in which disease is considered the result of abnormal function of the nervous system. Treatment usually involves manipulation of the spinal column and other body structures."

You can see from these definitions that an osteopath can work in all specializations. In fact, there are DOs (Doctors of Osteopathy) in all medical specialties: otolaryngology, dermatology, psychiatry, etc. Sometimes they work along with MDs (Doctors of Medicine). A chiropractor, on the other hand, can work only in his or her own field.

You may wonder why a person goes to osteopathy school instead of medical school, when at the end osteopaths and medical doctors perform the same services. I was told by a physician - an MD - that there aren't enough places in medical schools for everyone, and so some of the applicants turn to osteopathy school instead.

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