Daily activities can take their toll on your body – from waking up with a stiff neck after a bad night’s sleep, to a painful shoulder after that last game of tennis or a sore back from spending the weekend gardening, you may even need some help getting back in to shape – but who is right for the job?

The differences between a Chiropractor, Osteopath, and a Physiotherapist are not always clear, and you may find yourself unsure who to book with. We know choosing a practitioner can be challenging, especially when you’re in pain and simply want relief.

So, we’ve drawn up a brief summary of the differences between the professions to help you make that decision.


  • A remedial approach, mostly focused on regaining function and mobility as a form of rehabilitation post-trauma, such as an injury, strain or operation
  • High involvement of the patient in their recovery, sometimes through designated exercises or stretches


  • Both a preventative and remedial approach
  • Treat a small range of the body, focusing specifically on joints
  • Believe that subluxation (or misalignment) of joints, especially of the vertebrae, cause nerves to be trapped and so compromise your nervous system, which can ultimately affect your overall health
  • Work on keeping joints aligned, specifically working on your spine, to ensure your nervous system is working optimally
  • Trained in radiology and radiography, allowing them to base their diagnosis on imaging when required


  • Similar to a Chiropractor, but more focused on the interrelatedness of all bodily systems, in particular the musculoskeletal system and your overall well-being
  • A broad approach which usually encompasses treating large areas or the body as a whole, seeing it as one unified structure
  • Focus on soft tissue as well as joint manipulation


Remember, there are more similarities than differences between the professions. They all aim to restore optimal health by manipulating structures in the body.

Both Chiropractors and Osteopaths:

  • Believe an aligned spine will optimise the effectiveness of the nervous system
  • See a connection between a compromised nervous system and many of the symptoms they treat
  • Both use movement palpation to assist in diagnosing
  • Aim to treat the root of your problem, rather than masking the symptoms
  • Use some of the same methods of adjustment

A good practitioner, regardless of their profession, will have a varied toolset of treatment methods available to them to help ease your pain. If your problem seems generic, it may ultimately come down to which approach feels right for you.

If you’re unsure, consider asking yourself these questions:

  • Was my pain caused by an injury or strain, and do I need help getting back to full range of motion and mobility? If yes, a physiotherapist might be the best practitioner for you
  • If you are looking for precise manipulation to resolve pain or stiffness, then a chiropractor might be most appropriate. An osteopath may be best if you want a broader treatment

Please note that the above are only rough guidelines, and not specific medical recommendations. We strongly advise seeking professional help if you are in pain and need individual treatment or guidance.

If you have any further questions, or are interested in booking in with one of our practitioners, we would love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us