We often get asked, “What is the difference between a Chiropractor, an Osteopath and a Physiotherapist?”

Our answer will remind you of Shrek!

Like Ogres and onions, your body has layers.Osteopath, Chiropractor, Osteopath or Physiotherapist?, Peak Chiropractic

Chiropractor (from the Greek words cheir (hand) and praxis (practice) to describe a treatment done by hand)

A Chiropractor focuses on the spine and nervous system and their effect on the whole body. The nervous system is your body’s master controller; it controls and regulates how all of the cells, tissues and organs function in the body and is protected by the spine. If there are misalignments in the spine they can pinch and put pressure on the nerves and prevent them from functioning optimally, we call these “Subluxations”. Chiropractors use “adjustments” to release these subluxations and allow the body to heal and self regulate. Doctors of Chiropractic generally fall into 2 different categories, either Mechanistic or Vitalistic. Mechanistic Chiropractors are great for short-term or immediate pain relief; Vitalistic Chiropractors offer the same short-term benefits as well as correction of the underlying problem.

Chiropractors are trained and licensed to take and read X-rays and although they are not always needed, can be a vital diagnostic tool to pick up on any structural issues that a physical examination can often miss.

At Peak Chiropractic Centre, not only do we take a comprehensive health history, we do a health, stress and lifestyle consultation, a full physical examination including a spinal exam and a digital posture assessment. We can also give you advise on the lifestyle factors that are preventing you from functioning optimally, including nutrition, movement and mental/emotional stressors. In 2020 we add our own in-house, digital X-ray facility.

Osteopath (from “osteo” for bone and “pathic” for disease)
Osteopathy is a diagnostic primary health care profession that successfully treats neurological, musculoskeletal, visceral and circulatory disorders.

Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to treat a patient. The aim is to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension and boost the amount of blood supply to tissues to assist the body’s healing process. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise in order to help patients recover faster and prevent problems occurring again.

Physiotherapist (Physio – of or relating to natural functions)
Physiotherapists focus on assessing, treating and preventing human movement disorders, restoring normal function or minimising dysfunction and pain.

Physiotherapists, use hands-on therapy such as mobilisation, manipulation, massage and acupressure; individually designed exercise programmes, relaxation techniques and more to relieve pain.

So, you might be asking “Do I go to a Chiropractor, an Osteopath or a Physiotherapist?”

The answer: That depends.

It depends on what your own individual health goals are.

By addressing the spine and nervous system, Chiropractic ensures that your body’s foundations are strong. Osteopaths deal with the middle layers and Physiotherapists are great for dealing with the body’s outer layers.

It is not our intention to start an argument here, just give you the facts as we know them. If you feel anything we have said is incorrect in any way, please feel free to let us know in the comments.


Chiropractic – https://chiropractic.co.za/

Osteopathy – https://www.oasa.co.za/

Physiotherapy – https://www.physiosa.org.za/

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