Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some people would call an osteopath the medical doctor equivalent of a chiropractor, as they specialize in disorders and treatments of the bones and frame.  Osteopaths might take that personally if you made that comparison.  In addition to doing manipulations of the spine and frame by hand, like a chiropractor, they are also able to prescribe medicine in combination with the treatment, unlike a chiropractor.

The idea behind the field is that "the health of the body follows the health of the frame" and that pinched nerves and misalignment of the spine especially can lead to other medical problems and pain if left untreated.

dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An osteopath is a practioner of osteopathy which is a branch of medicine. Osteopathy is based on the theory that the body is able to rejuvinate itself under favorable environmental dietary conditions.

Osteopathic physicians use manipulation to restore functional and structural balance. They also rely on medicinal and surgical techniques to heal the body. Osteopathic physicians undergo similar training as the medical doctor(MD). Currently, it is recognized as a standard method of medical and surgical care. Osteopathy was founded by Dr. Andrew Still (1828-1917).