A chiropractor is a medical professional who focuses on proper alignment of the spine and other joints.
Although not medical doctors, chiropractors do undergo extensive medical training. Becoming a chiropractor requires no less than seven years of focused schooling (an undergraduate degree followed by four years of chiropractic training), special credentials, and a state license before they can become a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine.
At first glance, it might seem as if chiropractors are only focused on the proper alignment of the spine, but their understanding goes much deeper. Chiropractors view the body holistically, which simply means that they treat the body as a single organism, rather than separate systems.
When they are correcting a misalignment, or subluxation, of a joint or bone, this will affect the nerves, muscles, and other areas of the body. This is what makes it possible to use chiropractic care to treat a wide variety of conditions.
Chiropractors tend to focus on natural remedies and usually don’t recommend surgery or prescriptions.
An osteopath is a doctor that focuses on the physical manipulation of the tissues, muscles, and bones. Like a chiropractor, osteopaths view the body as a whole rather than focusing on a specific portion.
Osteopathic physicians follow much of the same path as a traditional medical doctor, including pre-med classes, four years of medical school and 3-7 years of residency) but rather than becoming a Doctor of Medicine, or M.D., they become Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). Like an M.D., an osteopath can prescribe medicine and referrals for surgical procedures as they see fit.
Osteopathy, however, is widely considered an “alternative” medicine. Osteopaths take a holistic approach and their education involves a heavier focus on the musculoskeletal system than the traditional medical path.