The primary aim of all these treatments is to reduce bodily aches and pains.

All three professions are regulated by their respective governing bodies and are highly qualified so there is no right or wrong choice,

but what do these different treatments offer?



Chiropractors and Osteopaths have a lot in common. In fact Chiropractic developed as an offshoot of Osteopathic medicine back in the 1800’s.

Chiropractors train for 4 years and focus on the belief that the spine and nervous system govern our health.

Modern chiropractors in the UK are trained to treat a variety of musculo-skeletal conditions, however treatment of back and neck pain constitutes a major part of their practise. They are skilled in the use of spinal manipulation (adjustments) as well as offering advice on exercise and lifestyle.

Chiropractors may take x-rays to make their diagnosis, (something Osteopaths are not keen on. See our ‘Do I need an X-Ray’ Blog!)



is a holistic system of diagnosis and treatment based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, joints and connective tissues functioning well together.

Osteopaths study for 4 years including over 1000 hours of clinical training.

As well as their expertise in spinal health, they take a ‘holistic’ approach. Osteopaths aim to restore your body to a state of balance and will often look away from the symptomatic area to find the cause of pain.

They are skilled in spinal manipulation, as well as a variety of other hands-on techniques including soft tissue stretching, massage and joint mobilisation. They also advise on exercise and lifestyle.



is a broad based training lasting 3 years. Traditionally, physiotherapists are less ‘hands on’ with their treatment of back pain, using more exercise-based approaches.

Physios use their knowledge and skills to improve a range of conditions associated with different systems of the body and their course includes the care of neurological (stroke/MS/Parkinson’s), musculoskeletal (e.g. back and neck pain) and Cardiovascular and Respiratory patients. Physios learn about a variety of conditions, (not just musculo-skeletal like Osteopaths and Chiropractors,) so it’s best to seek out one who has undergone specialist training after qualifying.


Points to remember.


*Good practitioners from any of these professions will have a ‘tool box’ of treatments they can use. They will carefully select which treatments and advice to use based on you, the patient.


*Avoid therapists who continue to treat you in the same way without any signs of improvement.


*You should feel confident that your practitioner has your best interests at heart and has taken time to really understand your problem.


Here at the Plympton Osteopathic Clinic we are committed to helping you back to health. We take time to understand your problem and choose from a variety of different hands-on treatments depending on what your body needs at the time. If you would like more information about what we offer please Contact Us.