How is chiropractic different than physiotherapy or osteopathic manipulations? This is a frequently Googled question that I wanted to address. First, these fields can all be very complimentary. Second, chiropractic could be the missing part of the puzzle for you!

So why are chiropractic, physiotherapy, and osteopathy different fields? Let’s define these, as manual practitioners certainly have some similarities and overlap in what they practice. 

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) offer a wide spectrum of care, looking at the body on a cellular level. In some places, DOs may be considered primary care physicians. Osteopathic manipulation is a hands-on treatment, which includes working on soft tissue restrictions using massage and soft tissue release.

Physiotherapy, which encompasses physical therapy and kinesiology, seeks to restore movement and function through various exercises, treatments, and interventions. These may involve the soft tissues, muscles, and joints. 

Now, what does chiropractic focus on?

The Specific Focus of Chiropractic

The thoroughness of how I analyze your body’s structure as a chiropractor is part of what sets me apart from other natural healthcare providers. We focus on a deeper level of function via the connection between the spine and nervous system. 

To start with, I check posture and balance, with scans including thermography, electromyography and heart rate variability to understand how the nervous system is adapting. Then a hands-on assessment helps me to put all of this information together to get to the source of inflammation and pressure on the nerve exiting the spinal cord. X-rays then help me to be able to see below the surface.

I specifically adjust with quick, purposeful movements to stimulate/shift the joints that are misaligned or restricted to allow better nerve flow. 

There are many techniques and positions that I’ve been trained in that subtly change the vector, direction, and gentle force of the adjustment. I may use tools like a drop table or a vibrating percussive tool called an Accustim Interrupter. 

Care is truly personalized to not only the patient but what their body may require on a given day.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care

An adjustment helps to restore mobility to the joint, which improves the range of motion. This leads to a more active lifestyle in many cases. 

With improved comfort, many people under chiropractic care find that they are able to fall asleep more easily and rest more deeply. And as each of us can attest, when our bodies feel well, our mental health tends to improve.

There’s also a neurological component as pressure is removed from the nerves. Proper nerve flow is important for every function of the body. We want to make sure that the brain and body can communicate clearly, delivering everything from sensory information to cellular instructions on healing!

As with other therapies for acute conditions, time and repetition are generally required to help the body relearn to hold itself in alignment. 

What about after you’re feeling better? As events unfold and stressors continue in our lives, chiropractic becomes a wonderful wellness tool to maintain a lifestyle of optimal function.

What Chiropractic Patients Say

For some patients who come in, physiotherapy has been helpful up to a point. However, they may not have reached the results or relief they desire.

With my thorough evaluation process, it’s easy to determine when there is a structural element, which we can specifically address with chiropractic adjustments. For many, this may be the missing part of the puzzle that compliments and completes the progress they’ve made.

Here’s what a patient, Manny, said in a review, “As a fairly new person to chiropractic treatment I can say that it’s been a great experience so far: I’ve learned a lot about how connected our nervous system is to our spine (where most of the issues that I’m dealing with are located at, both physical and mental) and the results have been outstanding. I highly recommend it.”

I hope this clarified your understanding of chiropractic! You may also enjoy reading How To Read Your Body’s Pain Signals.

Ready to have your nervous system function checked? Call 416-967-4466 for an appointment at our midtown Toronto office.


American Osteopathic Association 

World Physiotherapy