If you are experiencing muscle or joint pain, you may be weighing up whether to use osteopathic manipulative medicine vs chiropractic. While the skills of a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and a Chiropractor have several similarities, some key differences may help you determine which will be the best fit for your concerns.

Medical doctors vs. osteopathic manipulative medicine vs. chiropractic

It’s essential to define a few titles to understand the difference between these professions.

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) has very similar training to an MD; however, they can do something MDs can’t – osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). Both an MD and a DO are physicians that can prescribe medication and perform surgery.

While a chiropractor also goes through 4+ years of extensive training and must pass an exam to practice, they are not physicians and cannot prescribe medication.

How does treatment differ between the two?

DOs believe that all body systems are interrelated and dependant on each other for good health. Their holistic approach means appointments can take a little longer, as they seek to understand the entire body before using OMT techniques like gentle pressure, stretching, and resistance to help restore range of motion and reduce pain and the need for medication. DOs provide expert, hands-on treatment and diagnosis.

While Chiropractors look at the entire body, they will zero in on adjustments to the spine as they believe spinal structure and function significantly impact the musculoskeletal and neurological systems. Chiropractors may use X-rays and MRIs to help diagnose and often require shorter, more frequent appointments.