What's The Difference Between A Physiotherapist, Osteopath and Chiropractor? Part 3

In Part 3 of our series, I ask Dr Eric Brukwinski, Chiropractor and founder of Moving For Performance in Perth, to share his thoughts on our current discussion. Eric is also one of the top SFMA instructors in Australia, the SFMA being a thorough diagnostic assessment and system we use in our clinic. 


Here is how I understood things going through school…

Osteopathy looks at blood flow restrictions as the cause of disease.  They then manipulate to restore the blood flow to the area to restore healing.

Physiotherapy will look primarily at muscles and what is short/tight or long/looser.

Chiropractic will look at the nervous system and spine/joints as the restriction that causes disease.

So as a Chiro I recognise the brain running the body.  Off the brain comes the spinal cord that is protected by the vertebrae.  The spinal nerves exit the IVF (hole) that is formed in-between each of the discs.  Pressure on nerves can occur at the spinal level or distally to other areas. A classic case is sciatica, where if there is pressure from a disc or facet joint capsule on the exiting nerve root it can cause pain down the leg all the way to the foot.  As a chiro, we look to find where the restriction is along that nerve and restore it through a Chiropractic Adjustment. Some chiros will look at muscles as well and I would be one of them.  So my approach is musculoskeletal, in that did the muscle get tight and pull on the bone or did the bone get out and cause the muscle to tighten.  

Physical factors (work, sport etc), Emotional factors (stress), and Chemical factors (what we eat, drink, environment) are what causes these things to occur.  

Each profession and individual has their own strengths in what they do.  Building the right network that recognises that and refers appropriately is what we all need to do to best look after our patients.  So common language and approach allows all 3 professions to work together.  

I think we are all looking at movement, and though similar I believe it is in the training and continuing education after graduate school that will truly define us.  That is what has happened with me.  I was frustrated as a chiro on not having good rehab knowledge and exercise prescription.  This is how I got into Functional Movement Systems, FMS, SFMA, Y Balance, FCS as well as TPI (Titleist Performance Institute).

Learning about whole movement patterns and defining mobility vs stability issues is what really resonated with me.  These systems allow all professions to speak one common language as it brings everyone together.  This is what I really like.  And it allows us to all get along, egos aside :)  So each respective school teaches us the basics, but learning past that and keeping in the recent research and common thinking is essential to me.  So I look at myself as a good mobility expert but we need to get our patients to hit the “save” button on the software…this is where the right corrective exercises come in.