Most people have heard about chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists and have an understanding that they can ‘fix’ your back ache and neck pain. So what IS the difference?
So, the important thing for the public and prospective patients is that all these professionals are Statutorily regulated professionals - respectively by General Chiropractic Council; the General Osteopathic Council and The Health and Care Professions Council. This means that the Registrants/therapists have gone through approved education programmes and, once qualified, are bound by rigorous standards and codes. All chiropractors, osteopaths and physios have to complete at least 30 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) every year in order to maintain their place on their Registers.
Chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists all work on the musculoskeletal system and will usually commence a course of care that involves working on muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons etc, but they also consider your general health and are able to make suggestions about how you can make lifestyle improvements. I could go into the nuances of manipulation v’s mobilisation but for the time being, let’s leave that aside
So we have noted the similarities but the answer about the difference is really historical and philosophical. Both chiropractic and osteopathy originated in the USA at the end of the nineteenth century and were adopted in the UK. In the UK the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists was established in 1894. Historically, chiropractors dealt more with joints especially in the neck and spine; whilst osteopaths and physiotherapists focused more on soft tissues, especially the muscles. DD Palmer was the founder of chiropractic and believed that the body had a natural ability to heal through the nervous system. Andrew Still was the founder of osteopathy and he believed that blood circulation was the key to good health.
Nowadays, physical therapy is coverall term and depending on what CPD a practitioner has undertaken, the approach taken by a chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist might be incredibly similar
Well, I have to be up front and say I’m a chiropractor... but, you should visit a Registered professional. If you have had a recommendation, better still. Every therapist will treat you in a unique way, using different techniques having listened to your story.
Hope that goes some way to answering the question so don’t struggle with back ache; headache; joint pain, sporting injury - come and see me, or another therapist, no need to suffer!
GCC Reg 01919