What is the difference in the service provided by a regulated osteopath, a chiropractor or a physiotherapist?

subluxation When I used give talks to chiropractors and students one of my slides would put up the British Chiropractic Associations definition of Chiropractic , The British Osteopathic Associations definition and the chartered physiotherapists definition and would ash which was the chiropractor.
Last year I interviewed 8 prospective new graduates from AECC and asked each one. What is the difference between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist that does manipulation, the students were unable to explain the difference. They would say things like we look for the cause, we look at the whole body as if physiotherapists did not and it would always come down to x-rays and I would point out 75% of chiropractors dont have x-ray facilities.
The answer is simple enough however the regulators in their efforts to set “ medical standards” for chiropractic and osteopathy are trying to make the professions so similar, that there is  now very little difference between the professions and are ripe for amerging  into a branch of manual medicine.
Ten years ago all chiropractic definitions  made clear chiropractors did not use drugs, not any more. I have taken four definitions; a chiropractic definition from the AECC chiropractic College another from  the World Health Organisation, Osteopathy from  the British school of Osteopathy and the Physiotherapy Society.
Everyone will get one right for a very simple reason, its what they call in marketing jargon the chiropractors  USP.
  What is XXXXXX?

XXXXXX is a primary health care system, complementary to other medical practices. It is suitable for almost anyone and can contribute to the treatment and management of a wide range of

conditions. XXXXXX primarily work through the neuro-musculo-skeletal system, mostly on muscles and joints, using holistic and patient centred

A core principle behind XXXXXX is the idea that the body is an integrated and indivisible whole, and contains self-healing mechanisms that can be utilised as part of the treatment. No part of the body works, or can be considered, in isolation. Relevant psychological and social factors also form part of the process of patient diagnosis.

The key tools for XXXXXXX diagnosis include listening to the patient’s history, examining muscles and joints and observing movements. X -rays, scans and other clinical investigations are also used if required. A wide range of gentle, non-invasive manual techniques such as deep tissue massage, joint articulation and manipulation are
applied therapeutically.

XXXXX must be registered with the  XXXXXXX Council in order to practice. Patients may be referred by their doctor, or may opt to see XXXXXX independently.


What is XXXXX?

XXXXXX is a primary contact healthcare discipline that places its emphasis on the examination, diagnosis and management of problems and/or conditions that can affect the spine, muscles or extremity joints of the body.

Most people associate XXXXXX with just the treatment of back pain, neck pain and headaches. We go further than that by taking into consideration your overall health status before embarking on a treatment programme, in co-operation with you, the patient.

We commonly see patients with:

  • Back or neck pain

  • Migraine headaches

  • Sporting & accidental injuries

  • Whiplash related problems

  • Work related aches and pains

  • Limb pain, numbness and tingling

  • Arthritic and other joint problems

Although specialising in the mechanical disorders of joints and muscles, particularly those of the spine, XXXXXX have to take into consideration, for example, the patient’s home and work environments, sporting activities, hobbies and anything else that could have an effect on an individual’s physical and mental health.


What is XXXXXX?

XXXXXX is a healthcare profession with a science foundation. The range of work is very broad and varied and involves working with people to promote their own health and well being.

XXXX uses physical approaches to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social well-being, taking account of variations in health status.

XXXXX is science-based, committed to extending, applying, evaluating and reviewing the evidence that underpins and informs its practice and delivery. The exercise of clinical judgement and informed interpretation is at its core."


What is XXXXX

A health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of
disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on
general health. There is an emphasis on manual techniques, including joint adjustment
and/or manipulation, with a particular focus on subluxations.

The Chiropractic College definition. The Osteopathic College definition 

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy definition  World Health Organisation definition

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