Who Can You Trust? Physiotherapist, Osteopath or Chiropractor

In order to know who to visit when we have an injury, we need to learn how to differentiate these occupations: physiotherapist, chiropractor and osteopath. What they are for and where we need to go depends on the type of injury we suffer.
Who Can You Trust? Physiotherapist, Osteopath or Chiropractor

Last update: 10 November, 2019

Injuries are unavoidable when we exercise regularly and the more we exercise, the higher the risk of sustaining one. So, which professional should we choose to treat our injuries? A physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor?

Physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor, what do they do?

There are people who claim that an osteopath is better than a physiotherapist or that one is more rigorous than the other. What’s the reality behind this? Let’s find out.

The physiotherapist

To define physiotherapy, there’s no better definition than from the OMS, stated decades ago. It says exactly:

“Physiotherapy is the science that treats injuries through physical means, therapeutic exercise, massage therapy, and electrotherapy. Furthermore, physiotherapy uses electric check-ups and manuals to determine the seriousness of an injury and the level of strength. As well as tests to determine the functional capacities, the range of articular movement and measurements of vital ability, and diagnostic help for progress control.”

Physiotherapist working with a man.

So, even though many people won’t believe it, a physiotherapist is much more than a professional that gives massages. A physiotherapist applies certain techniques to help the patient.

Furthermore, physiotherapists are also prepared to diagnose where and why there’s pain and treat the specific part of the body. They also hold a degree, obtained after studying for four years, where they need a high grade to be accepted.


Osteopathy is a discipline that isn’t recognized in some countries, such as Spain. What does this mean? When you visit an osteopath, it’s possible that he/she isn’t qualified.

This is because it’s considered to be a pseudoscientific discipline. This means that it isn’t related to medicine and the results aren’t scientifically proven. Yes, lots of people have had great results but that isn’t a medical guarantee.

Its founder, Andrew Taylor, bases his theory on the principle that the body is a machine, where everything is connected. So when a piece breaks down, a muscle, a tendon or a bone, the solution is to treat different parts of the body, put them back in place and alleviate the pain.


A chiropractor focusses on the locomotor system, working with the spine. This practice isn’t recognized in Spain and although it’s useful for some people, it can also be dangerous for others.

Treating the back, especially if you don’t know how to do it can cause irreparable damage. Chiropractic skills aren’t obtained through a college degree, so in theory, anyone can practice it.

Chiropractor helping a woman.

Who should I trust? Physiotherapist osteopath or chiropractor

You now know after reading this article how to understand which decision is the right one. However, we would always recommend a physiotherapist.

Even though there’s proof that osteopathy and chiropractic have obtained great results for many patients, there’s also proof that it’s been harmful for others.

Since neither discipline is related, it’s better to take the safe option and visit a qualified physiotherapist with a good reputation. Don’t forget to ask for their qualification and the number of years they’ve been practicing for.

In short, you cannot always trust myths or even what other people may recommend to you. Health and the human body is a serious matter. Thus, it’s so important to remain informed, especially before receiving treatment from someone who isn’t a professional.

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The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.