Physio, chiropractor, osteopath?

My back is buggered. Who do I go to? Have done an osteopath who was quite vague and made things worse. Physio seemed better but the pain didn’t go. Do I need a chiropractor?

chiropractor is properly spelt charlatan - same for osteopath. a good physio is good - choose carefully 

What my beloved said 

except osteopaths are quacks too 

see a proper physio, or ideally an orthopaedic surgeon 

What the transformer said. I’ve seen good physios and a decent evidence led osteo, but after years of back trouble the thing that sorted it was Pilates and learning to use my core/stand up straight. 

Can I just get a doctor to give me an mri or scan to find out what is wrong? 

The chiropractor was ridiculous and told me he styled himself on Keanu reeves in the matrix and that he wanted to do chiropractic martial arts.  I paid £60 for that. 

the physio said my problem  may be kidneys so i  panicked I had cancer of the kidneys but a scan has shown they are fine so I think it’s my back still. That was £40. 

I feel incredibly unaligned plus have a pain around where my kidneys may be. Any diagnosis appreciated - you may as well puke on in the quack department. 




You'll wait months for an nhs GP to refer you for imaging, especially an MRI

Dont you have private?

Depends who you're insured with - mine pays for scans if a GP (nhs or their own via zoom) says you need one, then refers to surgeon / consultant. They will also fund physio instead or as well

Scan isn’t necessarily a good idea unless there are specific gestures which suggest a more serious cause.

What bullace and Linda said. A good physio may not cure the problem but they are at least unlikely to make it worse.

£40 sounds cheap. Try another physio ?

The thing about physio for the back is once they  loosen you up then you still have to do the exercises (which are all Pilates based anyway) to stop it coming back, so imho go straight to the source. 

The claims for chiropractic are overstated/unsupported by evidence in some cases (asthma) but there is good evidence of efficacy in terms of back issues.

I see a sports physio every couple of weeks to put me back together again after loads of heavy weights, impact sports and hard training.

Used to see one daily in my playing days.

Basically get a good sports physio, not an old person NHS physio. I tried one years ago and they have no clue.


Physio. You also need Pilates (proper Pilates, not workouts on a reformer bed which will make things worse). Pain there possibly referred from hip/glute, get a physio to do dry needling on that area, it’s amazing for pain relief. 

(re kidneys assume you don’t have a kidney infection? )

don’t go to an orthopaedic surgeon they’ll be trigger happy in terms of chopping you open for no reason 

Thanks all. 

My back kept going initially when I was doing weight exercise classes so I had to stop but now it just goes every now and again. At the moment I’ve had pain for a month - one day when I got up it was there (the day after I had the booster, I felt like I’d been kicked by a horse) . It’s made worse sitting at a desk. 

TC they did think kidney infection but ruled that out after tests. 

I think physio sounds good with Pilates - going to look into it today. I think I have always had a weak core and consequently everythings finally had enough. 

Ah the old arse acupuncture, think me and tc have trod a similar path, agree as well that you want physio led mat Pilates rather than fvcking around with the machines.

Cakers try Googling physio led Pilates near you then ring the teacher (who should be a physio) and speak to them and see what they think (and what you think of them). They might take you on as a patient then keep an eye on you in the class too which is really beneficial. 

I had a episode of chronic back pain about 10 years ago, and was prescribed some very strong painkillers by my GP, which knocked me out, or it at least felt that way. When pressing the accelerator pedal, I would get huge shooting pains up my spine. 

All my local private Physios were booked up for weeks, so I went to a Chiropractor, who fixed me up in no time things clicked back in place, and I felt great, even from the first session. He did explain the difference between a chiropractor  and an Osteo, and I forget what it was , but I think it was something to do with the treatment in that one lot thought it was done through manipulation and clicking stuff and the other lot thought it was something else. Does that sound right? I don't think either are quack science, they are regulated as I understand it and have PI Insurance.

Had Physio as well, through my mates mother, and the benefit was immediate. She did warn me to continue with the excersises saying " we make our money through repeat clients who leave here and don't do any of the excersises I have recommened, and they end up coming back" She was very correct.

Pilates will change your life cakers. Honestly. 

if you’re looking for a good teacher, Triyoga have a private network of consistently excellent teachers - you can email them and find some recs for rehab. 

Problem with chiropractor and osteopath is that people think they are great because they might get some instant (but temporary) relief so people think they are great, but they rarely deal with the underlying problem, which normally needs a physio to deal with. Physios like any medical professional are not all the same and some are better than others. I've had some great ones in the past. Also like doing yoga which I find helps my back a lot, but I don't really buy into the spiritual side of it that instructors go on about.

As Linda said go see an orthopaedic consultant (i.e. a proper doctor) privately.  If it is a long term problem they will probably do an MRI which will rule out (hopefully) anything skeletal/requiring surgery and then refer to you to a physio.

They may also give you a bunch of strong painkillers.  Whether you decide to take them or not is a different issue. 

You need to work with the physio to get strong (and yes pilates and/or yoga is likely to help over time) and then you can get back to weights (ideally with a good PT to make sure your form stays solid).



DD, I have variously described Physios as magicians, but they also give you instant relief, like Osteo and Chiros. Problem with Orthos , they are ever so keen to get their bag of tools out at any opportunity . As you say they are not all the same.

Complete Physio/Complete Pilates - branches in the City, Chelsea and Angel.

Thank me later.  

Dave Baker on the pure physio side (can do scans and give painkiller injections too) or Helen (the founder) on the Pilates side. If Helen not taking new patients, go to Lorien on the Pilates side. 

Note that all the Pilates people are also fully qualified physios. 

I would probably suggest starting with Dave to make sure there are no medical issues as such (he will suggest going to a doc if he thinks necessary) and then moving to one of the Pilates guys for rehab after that 

If its a ruptured disk, ignore all the dangerous advice on here, which will just weaken it further, and see a proper NHS specialist who will not just be after your money

Mine was a seized up muscle, which was immiediately sorted out by an osteopath giving me a cortisone injection

Afterwards, walking up a hill daily strengthened the core permanently 

Chiropractor worked for me and Swisstonette, followed by only using a standing desk. Cured my eternal sciatica. Painkillers unlikely to do much and physios largely solve soft tissue issues.



Back around the kidneys could be skeletal, but probably isn't - it's probably muscular.  Things a surgeon can fix will largely be (unless there's impact or other damage) will be disc problems, or nerve problems, either caused by discs bulging and compressing the nerves, or bone growth, or weakening, either of which can cause compression to the nerves.  Surgeons can fix that, but will only do so if it's serious.  Partly because it's major surgery and partly because of the significant risks (small percentage probability, but very severe if it goes wrong) as they're working next to the bowel and most of the major organs, plus obviously the spine and spinal cord.  

Everything else can be sorted, or improved with exercise.  Chiropractors are quacks and generally do more damage than good.  At best, you're wasting your money.  Problems in the back, particularly in the core / lower back might be a problem there, or that might just be a symptom of another problem.  For example, I get recurring problems with sciatica down my right leg, which is sometimes in the back of my thigh and sometimes down into the lower leg, or it's in the right lower back.  The problem (after an x-ray and seeing the physio at my GP surgery - the x-ray referral only took 4 weeks, but probably 8 weeks from seeing GP first to seeing physio) is actually the start of age related deterioration (ie arthritis) in my right hip.  I only went to the doctor when I started getting pain in the hip itself, but the other problems have been getting worse for a couple of years.  In order to protect the hip, I've been walking badly, holding myself wrong and compensating for it, which then causes problems elsewhere (core and leg), which are causing the painful symptoms I notice.  Stretching and strength building exercise targeted at the issues caused by the hip has made a huge difference, pretty quickly.

See the GP and get an x-ray - to make sure what the problem is.  You only need an MRI if they need to see in detail what is happening with the skeleton, or the soft tissue.  You won't do damage with stretching and exercise.  If you're getting problems weight lifting - don't lift, or only do weights / use machines that won't put pressure on the lower spine and get it checked first to make sure you're not doing more damage.

See the GP and get an x-ray - to make sure what the problem is. 

Guys, stop recommending imaging. Absent specific clinical features, its use is not supported in lower back pain and is associated with unnecessary intervention.

These threads are a bit like if someone posted asking for legal advice on a medical message board and everyone confidently opined stuff like “Make sure you tell them you’re a freedman-on-the-land and you don’t recognise their jurisdiction”