13 Jun 2022

What’s the Difference Between a Chiropractor, a Physiotherapist and an Osteopath?

By Charles Herbert

Manual therapists often get put into similar categories, and yet we have distinct differences in the ways that we care for you and the goals that you have for your health.

As I am a trained chiropractor, what I can do is tell you with certainty and experience what a chiropractor looks for when you go for chiropractic treatment, and how they work with you to achieve your health goals. Beware of ANY practitioner that claims to know exactly how any other profession works if they haven’t been trained in it.  We may have an idea, but that is not where our expertise lies.

“A Chiropractor restores the connection between your brain and body, and then your nervous system knows how to best heal and adapt after that.”

Chiropractors undergo up to 5 years of university training, which includes a post-graduate degree. We are trained in more anatomy, physiology and radiology than many medical degrees, as well as the ability to take and study x-rays. When you go to see a chiropractor, our main goal is the health and function of your nervous system. Your nervous system is what runs every single cell, tissue, organ, muscle, system and joint in your body. The goal of your nervous system is to communicate between the body and the brain. When there is a clear connection between your brain and body, your body can work at its peak. This means it can adapt to stress (such as regulating your heart rate to match your activity), heal injuries, have ease of movement and help us to express the best parts of ourselves.

Our nervous system connects our brain to our body via the spinal cord and nerves, which all need to pass through each individual joint of our spine. When those joints are not moving properly, your brain and your body are not able to talk to each other as easily, and this eventually leads to dysfunction and sometimes pain as the body tries to compensate.

As chiropractors, our job is to identify where this lack of spinal movement may be occurring and then remove that interference by restoring motion to that joint. Chiropractic actually means to ‘practice by hand’, so once we identify these areas of spinal dysfunction, we use our hands to achieve this. Sometimes you will even hear a ‘pop’ which is an air release occurring between the joints. This is what we call an adjustment.

A spinal adjustment can be performed in an area of the spine that is painful, and just as often it’s performed in an area of the spine that wasn’t painful, but where the joint is still not moving well. This is because it is our job to restore the connection between your brain and body, and then your nervous system knows how to best heal and adapt after that. Something may be painful as a result of a disconnect in a different area of the spine, and our role is to help remove interference at the CAUSE of the problem. YOU are doing all the healing; we are simply removing the interference to your body’s natural abilities.

As our nervous system is in charge of our healing, Chiropractic works well with all other kinds of healthcare, as we will always get more out of our healthy habits, exercise, and stretches when our body is connected and working at its best.