Osteopath vs Physio or Chiropractor

Laura Tilson Osteopathy

What is the Difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?

This is a question we get asked all the time as Osteopaths!

There is no simple answer though, because there is so much over lap in what these three professions do.

To help you consider which therapy you might prefer we have listed some similarities and differences.

Here are some of the similarities:

  • We are all musculo-skeletal specialists.
  • We all have professional governing bodies and protected titles.
  • All three professions require qualifications following university level education.
  • We are all Manual Therapists and use observation and touch as part of our treatment models.
  • We all work to improve the movement and function in the body with the goal of improving your general health.
  • The specialties come from a similar history and philosophy.


And some of the differences:

  • The three disciplines were founded by different people in the late 1800s. Although manual therapy has been recorded as far back as 460BC.
  • Generally chiropractors use more x-rays, MRI scans and blood and urine tests than Osteopaths. Osteopaths will refer on for these as and when required.
  • Chiropractic appointments in general are shorter and more frequent than Osteopathic appointments, because their adjustment techniques are quicker to carry out.
  • There is a general thought that Chiropractors tend to be more renowned for ‘clicking’ joints than Osteopaths, and that Osteopaths use this treatment style which they call ‘HVT’s than Physiotherapists. But this is not always the case and depends on the practitioner’s preferred treatment style and what is appropriate for the patient.
  • Physiotherapists tend to be considered to give more exercise based treatment rather than hands on treatment, but again this isn’t always the case.
  • Training to be a Physiotherapists requires you to work in a hospital setting unlike Osteopathy and Chiropractic training.

How to decide?

As an Osteopathic clinic we believe its up to you to decide who is the most appropriate therapist for you. If you are looking for a manual therapist please ask around in your communities for someone who comes trusted and recommended.

You can check their governing body’s registers to make sure they have all the up to date qualifications and don’t feel you need to stick once you have had an appointment. You can always ‘shop around’ until you find someone you feel comfortable with.

Getting a good therapist-patient link is really important.

We also believe that manual therapists specialising in Women’s Health, Paediatrics and Pregnancy Care should ideally have completed post-graduate training and qualifications. You can check this when you come to book your appointment.

Want to find out more? Book an initial assessment or give us a call to go over any questions

Please call 020 7206 2625 or email info@LTosteo.co.uk with an questions. Or click the button below to go straight to our online booking form.

About Laura Tilson

Laura Tilson is an Osteopath who provides consultations in South West London. She has completed training in providing osteopathic care for mums and babies with the Foundation for Paediatric Osteopathy and Molinari Institute of Health.

You can book a Home Visit or come and see Laura at one of our clinics. Please call 0207 206 2625 or email info@LTosteo.co.uk to ask a question or book an appointment. You can also view our diary and book an appointment online here.