Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Physiotherapy - Who should you see?


A common question you may have is which is best - chiropractic care, osteopathy or physiotherapy. They all deal with back or neck pain and are usually the first practitioner consulted when you have pain.

But who is best to see, after all your health is important, as is your back or neck pain.

What is the theory behind back pain?

It is commonly accepted that back pain is the result of both muscle and joint imbalances. The daily tasks you perform places stress and strain on your muscles and joints, with time various spinal imbalances develop.

These imbalances twist and distort your spine, which means your spine will function poorly. As you continue to work, exercise or just live, these imbalances keep developing, until one day you lift your child, bend over or carry some object ... or even do nothing at all ... and pain arrives.

Recent research concluded that ALL back and neck pain was the result of many micro-injuries over a period of time. In other words your daily activities cause these spinal imbalances, which eventually lead to pain.

How can Chiropractic, Osteopathy or Physiotherapy help?

Each of the professions looks at the body differently. Chiropractors believe that it is your joints and nervous system that affects your pain. Osteopathy (in the USA they are trained differently to the rest of the world) believe it is joints and your circulation tat cause back pain.

Physiotherapy looks more to the muscular system and tries to stretch or strengthen muscles to help with pain.

All the professions do their best to help with the modalities they have to use. They are educated well, but most still fail to look at the underlying cause of your pain.

Why do so many treatments fail?

The problem with these professions (I know as I am a Chiropractor) is that they are taught to treat pain as a segmental problem.

You have lower back pain, so you look at the lower back. You have neck pain so you target the neck. With Physiotherapy part of this approach can be blamed at the medical profession. For year they were told what to treat by the diagnosis made by the doctor.

If the diagnosis said lower back, you treated the lower back only. Chiropractors and Osteopaths cannot aim the blame at anywhere but their education.

The spine works as an entire system, not a segmental one. When you walk your left leg moves at the same time as your right arm. Every joint and muscle is inter-connected. And hence treatment should reflect this.

What is the best approach for back pain relief?

If you want long lasting results then you must address the symptoms and the cause. First you must identify which spinal imbalances are present using self assessment methods. Then you need to relieve symptoms and perform corrective techniques to rebalance your entire spine.

The principle behind Spinal Balancing is that you deal with the symptoms and the cause. A combined approach is better than a segmental approach. To get long term relief you must improve muscle and joint balance.

Who is best to consult with?

This is one question I get asked often through this web site... "If I was to consult with a practitioner who should I see?"

The answer is simple really, you need to see a good practitioner. All practitioners will do their best to help. Each profession has it pro's and con's. But you should consult with the one that is best for you.

There is a simple test you can perform called the "Sugar Test", which will determine who is best to see. It was performed on me by a patient many years ago (and I passed). It basically determines who is an honest and reliable practitioner. Why?

If you find an honest and reliable practitioner, they will do their best to help with the modalities they use. If they can't help they will tell you and refer you to someone they believe will.

This is what you need. Not everyone will respond the same or with the same methods. This is why you need an honest practitioner who will tell you that you need to seek help elsewhere. That way you will find what is best for you.

What now?

If you have decided that you wish to consult with a practitioner, and then look into each profession. If you would like someone to manipulate your joints - Chiropractic care, Osteopathy and even some Physiotherapists will oblige.

If you prefer exercises or muscle work then you will practitioners of each persuasion will help. You cannot lump all of them into one basket. Each profession has progressed through the years and now each has numerous techniques at their disposal.

But look into the practitioners in your area, get feedback for those who see them, ask around. Apply the Sugar Test (which is part of the X-Pain Method bonus package) and find one who is reliable and honest and you won't go wrong.

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