What is the difference between chiropractic and osteopathy?

Both chiropractic and osteopathy aim at treating and preventing pain with conservative manual treatments that does not prescribe medication. These professions are recognized and regulated in France and patients can visit these practitioners without a prescription. Nevertheless, responsibilities, rights and trainings are different.
Responsibilities: chiropractic treats neuromusculoskeletal disorders that may occur at the spine level or on members. Chiropractors can manipulate the skeleton, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves. Osteopathy treats functional disorders through osteoarticular, visceral and skull manipulation.
Rights: Unlike osteopaths, French chiropractors are authorised to perform all types of movements and adjustments: manual, mechanically-assisted, with or without instruments, direct or undirect, with or without force vectors. They are the only non-medical practitioners who are allowed to perform cervical adjustments using force vectors without a medical certificate attesting that there are no contraindications. French osteopaths can only perform unforced and without instrument manipulations.
Education Since French chiropractors are trained in the only school in the country and chiropractic education is standardised worldwide, there is a homogeneous level across the profession. By contrast, osteopaths are trained in thirty or so schools in France with sometimes differences from one school to another. Moreover, French osteopathy degrees may not be recognised abroad and it can be difficult to get a certificate of equivalence.


Do chiropractors provide massage?

Chiropractors provide much more than massage! First of all, chiropractors make diagnosis in their area of expertise. Then they use therapeutic tools for treatment and prevention: chiropractic is a paramedical profession and a conservative manual therapy (without surgical intervention) that does not prescribe medication. The treatment is primarily based on spinal adjustments and manipulation of joints, and chiropractors sometimes suggest exercises adapted to the patient’s needs.


What is the difference between chiropractors and physiotherapists?

Unlike chiropractors, physiotherapists do not make spinal adjustments. Furthermore, a doctor must prescribe physiotherapy, whereas chiropractic is called “first-line” therapy, meaning anyone can visit a chiropractor without a prescription.
• Contrairement au kinésithérapeute, le chiropracteur est un thérapeute de premier contact. Les patients peuvent le consulter directement, sans prescription médicale. Il doit donc avant toute chose faire une évaluation de la situation clinique, puis proposer un plan de traitement pour traiter les troubles de l’appareil locomoteur.
• Alors que le kinésithérapeute est un spécialiste du mouvement qui utilise principalement des exercices de rééducation, de l'électro-physiothérapie et le massage manuel ou aidés d'appareils adaptés, le chiropracteur a recours à des manipulations vertébrales dans lesquelles il a acquis une compétence d’expert.
• Les chiropracteurs sont formés dans une seule école en France, l’IFEC, donc la profession propose un niveau homogène et reconnu en Europe et dans le Monde (grâce à l’accréditation ECCE). Les kinésithérapeute obtiennent leur Diplôme d’Etat (DE) après une 1ère année de sélection suivie de 4 années de formation, soit 5 ans. La formation n'est pas standardisée à l'international, ce qui peut complexifier parfois les projets d’installation à l’étranger.


Do chiropractors crack bones? Does it hurt?

In a chiropractic session, bones may or may not crack during joint manipulations. Even though the sound can be quite loud, this cracking is neither painful nor dangerous. It comes from a sudden change of pressure inside the joint, which produces the phenomenon called “cavitation”.


What are the conditions in which chiropractors practice?

Chiropractic in France is an independent profession. The vast majority of chiropractors open their own practice, associated with other chiropractors, or work as employees for several years. There are now more and more health centres with several medical or paramedical professions under the same roof that are in need of chiropractors. As part of our curriculum, IFEC has a segment to help graduates getting started in the professional world that focuses on all the important aspects (management, law, communication, etc.).


Why is chiropractic not well known in France ?

Chiropractic appeared in the United States in the 19th century, but French pioneers didn’t import it until the 1950s. Today, there are only 1,400 chiropractors in France (compared to 27,000 osteopaths, 86,000 physiotherapists and 58,000 general practitioners), which explains why it is still not well known. Additionally, there is only one chiropractic school in France, compared to approximately thirty osteopathy schools.


Is chiropractic recognised in France today?

Chiropractic is now recognised in France and chiropractors are registered with the ARS (Regional Health Agency). The chiropractic diploma is recognised by the French Ministry of Health. The HAS (French National Authority of Health) has approved memo sheets for the profession that were created by chiropractors.


Are chiropractic treatments reimbursed?

More than 400 supplementary health insurance plans cover chiropractic consultations, depending on the organisation and the contract. Chiropractic treatments are not covered by the national health insurance plan.