What’s the difference between Osteopaths Chiropractors and Physios?

Stuart Walker, Osteopath

This is one of the most common questions that we get asked at Teddington Osteopaths. It can be confusing to try to find out which therapy is right for you. There is a difference between Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists even though all treat similar types of conditions, largely musculoskeletal injuries and complaints. Here’s a simple overview:


Combine elements of both the other disciplines. We tend to take a more ‘holistic’ approach, stepping back to look at the ‘big picture’. We don’t just deal with injuries but also ongoing postural and mechanical problems people have.

We consider both local tissue damage and whole body mechanics at the same time. Factors such as age, occupation, exercise and lifestyle are incorporated to ensure the ‘best-fit’ to restoring health. Treatments are typically 30 mins and involve soft-tissue massage and articulation, as well as joint manipulation.

Cranial osteopathy is a speciality within osteopathy that focuses on a very gentle approach to restoring correct alignment and balance within tissues. It is particularly suitable for babies and children.


Traditionally work with injuries and rehabilitation, mainly dealing with muscles and ligaments. Treatments combine ‘hands-on’ muscle manipulation work with the use of technical equipment (such as ultrasound), plus exercise prescription.


Mostly focus on spinal mechanics and aim to push patients towards what they consider an ‘ideal spinal posture’. This may include taking x-rays and using machines. Treatments are usually short (typically 15 mins) and generally focus on spinal manipulation only (the cracking/clicking of joints).

It can be a little confusing trying to work out which type of therapy is best for you, but don’t worry if you have any specific questions around the difference between Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists, we’re always happy to help or chat things through.



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