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DO and Chiropractor

What is the Difference Between a DO and Chiropractor?  

The primary differences between an Osteopathic Physician (DO) and a chiropractor are their levels of training and the scope of their practice.

Level of Training

The requirements in undergraduate education, graduate education, and postgraduate training is greater for DOs than for chiropractors. DOs are trained and licensed to utilize medication and surgery in the branch of medicine for which they are trained.

Scope of Practice

A chiropractor is not a licensed physician and has not completed residency training in a hospital. The scope of chiropractic practice is defined by statute as “including the diagnosing and locating of misaligned or displaced vertebrae and, through manual manipulation and adjustment of the spine and other skeletal structures, treating disorders of the human body. The practice of chiropractic does not include the use of drugs or surgery, or the practice of osteopathy, obstetrics, or any other branch of medicine”.


Chiropractic is primarily concerned with normalizing the alignment of the spine to influence the relationship between the spinal column and the nervous system. In this way, the chiropractor endeavors to influence the physiological function of all the organs and systems within the body. Although their techniques have expanded somewhat in recent years to include more gentle techniques, the vast majority of chiropractic adjustments are still of the thrust variety.

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is based on the principle that the human body possess self healing/self regulating mechanisms that are the source of true healing. The Osteopath is trained to discover the treatment plan that these forces have already designed, in that moment, specifically for that patient.  The focus in treatment, therefore, goes beyond simple spinal alignment, to dealing directly with the abnormal body physiology using a array of direct and indirect techniques.  This more holistic healthcare perspective, affords the Osteopath a broader spectrum of therapeutic options in addition to thrust techniques, among which are myofascial release, muscle energy, counter strain, visceral manipulation, Osteopathy in the Cranial Field and Biodynamics.

This broader range of diagnostic and therapeutic options, allows the Osteopathic physician to custom fit their treatment  to the patient’s unique needs, respecting the fact that each of us are not necessarily meant to look and function the same way. This also means that the Osteopath does may not prescribe months or years of treatment at the first visit, but lets the prescription unfold as the treatment process proceeds.

Dr. Rajiv L 


Board-Certified Osteopathic 
Physician & Surgeon


Dr. Rajiv L.Yadava, DO

1050 Old Des Peres Road

Suite 100

St. Louis, MO 63131


Osteopathic Physician Training

Optimal Functional Medicine

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