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Chiropractors, Osteopaths & Doctors -Isle of Man


Information Guide

Pain Relief Clinic Isle of Man, Chempaka


For all the people with back pain, disk problems, lower back pain, hip pain, knee pain, elbow pain, people in chronic pain want to know who to see to help them and to know the difference between a Chiropractor, Osteopath, and a Medical Doctor, M.D., so we’ve drafted out some of the perceived differences, strengths and weaknesses and some common terminology of them.

It’s confusing and all the more maddening when you are in pain.


I am often asked what is the difference between the various “Doctor” titles we come across in various modalities.


Let me help you understand….


A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, aka Doctor of Osteopathy = Osteopath (not to be confused with any osteopaths not trained in the USA, who are not physicians). An Osteopathic doctor, (DO) osteopathic physician; is a Medical Doctor trained at an American osteopathic medical school.


It was late 1979 and early 1980 Dr. Stephen started to study in the U.S.A. to become a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, (D.O.), entering on his Bachelor’s Degree, on an initial 5 year teaching that is equivalent to a Medical Doctor, (M.D.), but with a wider view of alternative medicine and a more in-depth degree than a British Osteopath, who is not trained as a physician or Medical Doctor.
In saying that Dr. Stephen is also a Certified Neuromyoskeletal, Postural and Pain Specialist. 


Dr. Stephen “does not” use strict Osteopathic techniques and does not practice what is termed Osteopathy, but rather his own adaptation of many forms of therapy.


Keep reading for more information on Osteopathy and its founder Dr. Still, MD. DO.



A Doctor of Chiropractic or Chiropractic Medicine (DC) = chiropractor; A Chiropractic physician is trained at a chiropractic medical school including alternative and natural medicine. It has only been quite recently that they were allowed to call themselves ‘Doctors’ of Chiropractic and have more or less recently had their craft recognized, mainly because of the growing craft and political pressure.


Like every profession, there are some really super good Chiropractors and some not so good. That’s the main problem actually on how we might refer patients out to them. 


It is commendable that some of those excellent Chiropractic Doctors also seem to genuinely care about their patients and run their practice accordingly. There are of course a few of those on the island.
Sadly however, it has become the norm both here in a few cases and much more so internationally to run the practice more on the lines of a business, putting the patient second to money and income, where they try and cram in as many people in a day as absolutely possible.


There’s no time to chat with the patients and ask how they genuinely feel, concentrating mainly only discussing about chiropractic and especially on the importance of coming back regularly, or sometimes on payment plans available.


This results of course in a patient coming in through the front door in those types of money orientated practice will try to get them out of the same front door within at least 15 minutes, including completing paperwork, waiting for treatment and the treatment itself. Quite sad actually and the patient will eventually come to realize this and have to consider ‘is this the right treatment for me?’


Naturally, most people think that is not putting the patient’s best interests first and many people could see why. The true core belief of Chiropractic is that they want everyone in the world on Chiropractic help, coming back regularly ‘for life’.

Quite often though it is the same old story they hear each week and the same old treatment, lasting less than 5 minutes in many cases, but normally not more than 15 on a long-term basis.
There are of course brilliant Chiropractors who genuinely care and give appropriate treatment and added modern (non Chiropractic treatments which are usually frowned upon by hard core Chiropractors). If you are lucky enough to have one of those, then well done.


Far too many therapies of all kinds now pride themselves on how short their ‘sessions’ are, and how fast their results in that short session are, rather than paying careful attention to what their patients and clients truly need.


There are all kinds of extra cues and enlightenments if one cares to know how to look and/or ask. Many therapists only use X-Rays and a quick cursory check, but no questions and no other analysis is used.
We at Chempaka Pain Relief Clinic pride ourselves on utilizing both eastern and western science to analyze and examine, along with inner psychological assessments as well, which often give surprising additional information.


Chiropractic has some well-founded core beliefs regarding the nervous system and the spine, which we ourselves also find important but some beliefs not so well founded in some people’s opinion, but isn’t that the same as many other practices and therapies?


Chiropractors are in many ways not that different from other health care professionals. Most of them, like Dr. Preston Long, DC, who wrote an expose of Chiropractic, go into their profession with all the very best intentions; they study hard what is being taught at Chiropractic College; they pass their exams and set up a practice to earn a decent living.


During their career, they subsequently treat thousands of patients, and many of them perceive some benefit. Those who don’t fail to return and are quickly forgotten. Over the years, chiropractors thus become convinced that their interventions are effective.

In several other ways, however, chiropractors differ from conventional health care professionals. The most fundamental differences; most all other health care professionals think, relate to the facts that chiropractic is based on the erroneous dogma of its founding father(s), and that chiropractors fail to abide by the rules of evidence-based medicine and practice. 


D.D. Palmer, the so-called ‘inventor’ of chiropractic, believed that all human illness was the result of ‘subluxations’ of the spine, which impeded the flow of the ‘Innate’ ("innate intelligence" or God-like that reject science) and required correction through spinal adjustments. To his followers, this new approach to healing was the only correct one – one that could cure all health problems.


We don’t subscribe to any one type of therapy, as then we feel we would be limiting ourselves.
Keep reading for more information on Chiropractic, its core beliefs and its founder D.D Palmer.
Medical Doctors (MDs’) are highly trained physicians and are generally found in Medical Practices and Hospitals around the world. Like in any healing modality, some Medical Doctors (MD’s) have better diagnostic skills than others and almost certainly better than some DO’s.

Of course most MDs’ are overwhelmed by patients each and every day and there’s no real time for hands on physical treatments, or even lengthy chats like in the old days of doctors’ house calls and it has become the norm to refer out to specialists and surgeons, or prescribe medicines and drugs.
Drugs and medicines are obviously required for many illnesses and do save lives! Perhaps not so for chronic pain issues, but there again that is dependent upon the cause. 


There are some brilliant MDs’ who become surgeons and specialists that without a doubt save countless lives each and every day.


We would be lost without them!


Remember that the medical system in most countries, including our own on the island and certainly in the UK is vastly under funded and as a result it is failing in many departments and that is certainly not the cause of the Doctors themselves. Training for Doctors and Nurses is suffering too as it is now becoming a case of who’s the cheapest we can get, never mind where they come from; just get them in. 


Some MDs’ however, have knowledge of natural medicine, and a very few have studied manual medicine techniques and even acupuncture. Not every single MD is dependent on technology for their diagnoses or their treatments … but the VAST MAJORITY ARE DEPENDENT ON TECHNOLOGY FOR ALL ASPECTS OF DIAGNOSIS AND EVEN MORE SO FOR ALL ASPECTS OF TREATMENT. 


Chiropractors continued

To some extent, the same is true for chiropractors (with exceptions of course): There’s not many chiropractors that aren’t reliant to a greater or lesser extent on x-ray findings. On the other hand, some DC’s do learn more than just spinal manipulation than most people attribute to Chiropractic. 


Some DCs’ know a great deal about medicinal treatments and laboratory diagnostics too. Many know about natural treatments. Some have learned other types of manipulation including muscle energy or emphasize unusual treatments such as Atlantoaxial treatment. Some learn whole body manipulation, though from documented experience, although the majority ‘does not’. 


Some have even learned surgery, though with very rare exception, they’re generally not allowed to use it. Again, I have to restrict my writing to what the AVERAGE DC is taught and/or practices.
Keep reading for more on Chiropractic and its founder DD Palmer.


Osteopath continued
Osteopathic (I’m talking about American trained DOs’ not British or outside the USA) education tends to emphasize “people skills” and listening to our patients. It is the same with some MD’s who are naturally gifted listeners and some others may be taught the skill by individual mentors. It is generally not the trait of a Chiropractor.


Throughout my osteopathic type education, however, people skills, relating to patients, and really listening to them were always highly emphasized. We osteopathic students were inculcated with the mantra, “85% of all diagnoses come from a good history,” – i.e. the vast majority of diagnoses can be made by LISTENING to the patient.


In addition, osteopathic physicians (DO) have traditionally been taught that most of the remaining diagnoses can be made by employing well-honed physical diagnostic skills – from the well-known ‘looking in the eyes and ears’ of a patient and listening to their hearts and lungs, to far more sophisticated palpatory diagnostic skills (diagnosing by using our sense of touch). 


As osteopathic students we were taught to use our skills and our intelligence to make diagnoses – a mixture of Neuromusculoskeletal Examination and Assessment focusing on the development of technical and clinical reasoning skills involved in differential diagnosis of joint, nerve and muscle tissues and to use technological tests such as x-ray, MRI, EMG, blood tests, etc. to confirm, differentiate, or hone our diagnoses – not to make the diagnoses for us.


Whether we use all our skills or not in today’s technologically driven healthcare, DOs’ are each taught ALL of the physical diagnostic, technological diagnostic, and treatment skills available in western medicine, with emphasis on listening/history-taking, physical diagnosis skills, manual diagnostics, medicinal prescription, surgery, and virtually every other type of available medical care.
The addition of plant medicinals and naturopathy is a skill lacking in all fields of medicine except naturopaths, though a much higher percentage of C.D.s’ and D.O.s’ than M.D.s’ generally take it upon themselves to learn about nutritional supplementation and natural remedies. 


So, despite the widely varying knowledge and practices of individual practitioners, we can see what the average student within each profession is likely to encounter during their respective educations.
It is important to understand also that once the student has left his or her college, it is up to the individuals to continue in earnest to continue to build their skills and knowledge and take as many follow up courses as they can, wherever they may be sourced from, even on-line accredited courses, that go towards degree study, if it helps the individual grow and learn. 


It is EXPERIENCE however, that is the ultimate factor in being a true healer and it is the RESULTS that matter to the patients who go seeking help. It is absolutely true that the “TOUCH” cannot be taught; it is something that comes from inside; it is a gift that comes from the very core of existence.


So what is Chiropractic?

This is what Wikepedia and other documents say…


D. D. Palmer, who apparently was a failed Magnetic Hand Healer, founded chiropractic in the 1890s, after saying he received it from "the other world", in speaking to the dead, and his son B. J. Palmer helped to expand it in the early 20th century. The fact that he supposedly trained under Doctor Still, M.D., the founder of Osteopathy was left out of the official records.


Throughout its history, chiropractic has been controversial. Despite the overwhelming evidence that vaccination is an effective public health intervention, among chiropractors there are significant very strong disagreements over the subject, which has led to negative impacts on both public vaccination and mainstream acceptance of chiropractic.


This is recently now coming to a head in the UK news.

The American Medical Association called chiropractic an "unscientific cult" in 1966 and boycotted it until losing an antitrust case in 1987. Chiropractic has had a very strong political base and sustained demand for services; and in recent decades, it has gained more legitimacy and greater acceptance among conventional physicians and health plans in the United States especially due to political pressures.


Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine mostly concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. Proponents claim that such disorders affect general health via the nervous system, through vertebral subluxation, claims which appear to be demonstrably false by the medical community. 


The main chiropractic treatment technique involves manual therapy, especially spinal manipulation therapy (SMT), manipulations of other joints and soft tissues. 


Its foundation is at odds with mainstream medicine, and chiropractic is sustained by what is termed pseudoscientific ideas such as subluxation and "innate intelligence" (or God like) that reject science. Chiropractors are not medical doctors! They self termed themselves Doctors (of Chiropractic), and are not PhD Doctors either.

Numerous controlled clinical studies of treatments used by chiropractors have been conducted, with conflicting results.

Systematic reviews of this research have not found evidence that chiropractic manipulation is effective, with the possible exception of treatment for back pain. 


A critical evaluation found that collectively, spinal manipulation was ineffective at treating any condition known to man, often sited by Chiropractors. Spinal manipulation may be cost-effective for sub-acute or chronic low back pain but the results for acute low back pain were insufficient.

The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of maintenance chiropractic care are unknown. There is not sufficient data to establish the safety of chiropractic manipulations. It is frequently associated with mild to moderate adverse effects, with serious or fatal complications in rare cases.

There is controversy regarding the degree of risk of vertebral artery dissection, which can lead to stroke and death, from cervical manipulation. Several deaths have been associated with this technique and it has been suggested that the relationship is causative, a claim which is disputed by many chiropractors.



We have many cases of patients and clients coming to us with stories of not feeling better after years of treatment. One such patient/client who came to us after 15 years of chiropractic work on her shoulder pain, frozen shoulder, with no effect whatsoever.  She came to us and in a month or so, was pain free and had full movement in that shoulder and arm.


One of our patient’s who was absolutely overjoyed at our successful treatment, after 20 years of disappointment with other treatments sent us a link written and posted by a Medical Doctor that she said we should look at and put on our Facebook, but we decided not to and simply place it at the back of our information pages here.



First article



Second article



I personally think the content is rather controversial but is written by a knowledeable Medical Doctor and certainly free and open knowledge on the internet.


I know of very good Chiropractors (who care) here on the island and certainly some Chiropractors of international acclaim that I have the utmost respect for.  Anyway, I will post the links above for a short while and then I will remove it and was only added for informational purposes to let people know as much as they can from free articles on the internet and treatments offered.


What is Osteopathy according to Wikipedia?

Osteopathy is a type of alternative medicine that emphasizes manual readjustments, myofascial release and other physical manipulation of muscle tissue and bones. Practitioners of osteopathy are referred to as osteopaths. 


The government policy and legal framework in which practitioners operate vary greatly from country to country, with some having both non-physician osteopaths and medically trained osteopathic physicians.
The practice of osteopathy began in the United States in 1874. The term "osteopathy" was coined by Dr. Andrew Still, MD, DO. 


Dr. Still was a genuine physician and surgeon, unlike the founder of Chiropractic, who was basically a failed magnetic hand healer. Dr. Still was also a Kansas state and territorial legislator, a free state leader, and one of the founders of Baker University. 


He lived near Baldwin City, Kansas at the time of the American Civil War and it was there that he founded the practice of Osteopathy. 


Andrew Still held a view common to early 19th century proponents of alternative medicine, supporting the idea that the body's natural state tends toward health and inherently contains the capacity to battle any harmful threats to health in the body. This is somewhat similar to the Chiropractic belief.


This view was opposed to that of the orthodox practitioner, which held that intervention by the physician was necessary to restore health in the patient. The division between irregular medicine, also known as unorthodox medicine, and regular medicine that resulted because of these differing views was a major conflict for decades before Dr. Still established the basis for Osteopathy. 


The foundations of this divergence may be traced back to the mid-18th century when specificity in physiology became the central study that pointed to the cause and nature of disease. Diseases began to be localized to organs and tissues, and doctors began shifting their focus from the patient to the internal state of the body, resulting in an issue labelled as the problem of the "vanishing patient".
After experiencing the loss of his wife and three daughters to spinal meningitis and noting that the current orthodox medical system could not save them, Dr. Still may have been prompted to shape his reformist attitudes towards the conventional medicine. 


Dr. Still set out to reform the orthodox medical scene and establish a practice that did not so readily resort to drugs, purgatives, and harshly invasive therapeutics, to treat a person suffering from ailment, similar to the mind-set of the irregulars in the early 19th century.
In 1898 the American Institute of Osteopathy started the Journal of Osteopathy and by that time four states recognized Osteopathy as a profession. 


The founder of Chiropractic was said to have studied with Dr. Still for a short period before founding his own Chiropractic system.


So, there we are!  A short introduction to the main modes of treatment for pain syndromes.  We hope it helps explain for those who are a little confusred about what it all means and more importantly; how it can help them in treating their pain once and for all.  Of course, we at Chempaka Pain Relief Clinic say:


Don’t live in pain – when there is an alternative!

With so many therapies and proverbial doors to choose from, it is often confusing, but we think our door stands alone as the right choice!


You will too, once you take that step to being Pain Free and walk through our door


Welcome to Chempaka Pain Relief Clinic

Come in and start your journey to being Pain Free!

See the Introduction and Services page for more information on our treatment or

Call us on 01624 817844


If we don’t answer immediately, please leave a message and we will definitely get back to you as soon as we can


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