GPs and Chiropractors: All you need to know

GPs and Chiropractors: Friends or Foes? Similar or Different? Read on to find out…

We are frequently asked numerous questions about the differences about Chiropractic doctors and medical doctors (specifically GPs in the UK). In this blog we answer some of the frequently asked questions.

Question 1: Do GPs and Chiropractors hate each other?

Yes, we really do get asked this question. The answer is no.

All healthcare providers have different approaches and philosophies when it comes to treating or assisting patients. Medical doctors typically prescribe medications or perform surgeries to treat illnesses and diseases. On the other hand, Chiropractors focus on providing adjustments of the spine and joints to address neuromusculoskeletal problems or in providing additional care to address wider issues.

GPs and Chiropractors

Discussions about research

One source of disagreement between GPs and chiropractors is the inconsistency of evidence supporting the effectiveness of certain chiropractic techniques for conditions like asthma and allergies that are not related to musculoskeletal problems. This is not to say that there isn’t research at all (in fact there is a good chunk of research ratifying the effectiveness of Chiropractic for some issues- see the ASA approved list on our homepage for a start!). Some medical doctors are skeptical of claims by some that Chiropractic can do more than assist these conditions and this is wholly understandable (as it would be for any claim spanning further than evidence-informed research).

Discussions about risk management

Safety is an area of potential disagreement between GPs and Chiropractors too. There are indeed some risks associated with any treatment given, including Chiropractic care. These risks are minimised when adjustments are given by qualified, experienced, registered practitioners. The reason for this is because such practitioners will discuss risks and be able to establish whether there is sufficient rationale for care for that person and that the benefits of care outweigh any risks. The same can be said for medical procedures however, with many drugs or surgeries being of statistical higher risk than Chiropractic care per se.

The reality

Despite any disagreement, GPs and Chiropractors collaborate and work together to provide the best care for patients. Both professions play important roles in the healthcare system and can offer valuable treatment options for patients with different conditions.

Why does my GP not refer to a Chiropractor?

Historical concerns

Though there is evidence for many conditions the fear of rogue Chiropractor claims has historically been a block to care.  This day and age however there are plenty of guidelines to suggest clear referral routes for GPs (and also from Chiropractors back to GPs) where it is in a patient’s best interests to do so. Chiropractors are also regulated

Practitioner Philosophy

Practitioner philosophy can be a reason however. Whether a bias or prejudice, some GP’s just don’t feel that Chiropractic is the most appropriate. This is okay, not least as you don’t actually need a GP referral to see a Chiropractor. It is our advice however that you ask them why they hold this view: If it is to do with your particular medical circumstance in particular seeing us for our initial consultation may just lead to a referral back to your GP!


We also advise asking why as, believe it or not, your GP may not actually not have established amazing relationships with Chiropractors or Chiropractic clinics in your area. Often referrals between practitioners occur based on trust and experience (a bit like word of mouth referrals between friends). Highlighting your interest in Chiropractic, or the outcomes you had once you’ve been, may pave the way for others.

Insurance / Money

Finally, it may be about money. Some insurance policies only suggest referral towards some approaches of health care. If you are seeking advice from a GP from your insurer it may be worth talking to them about your preferences if you disagree with theirs so that you can weigh up the pros and cons together.

Aren’t GPs and Chiropractors just quacks?

Historically the term has been used for both professions. However, It is not appropriate to label any healthcare professional as “quacks.” Both GPs and chiropractors are licensed, educated, insured healthcare professionals who have undergone extensive training and education to practice their respective fields. Both professions are there to help you.

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Connective Chiropractic Ltd,
55 Kingsclere Road,
RG21 6XG

01256 639 452


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Registered Company (10788728) in England & Wales, Registered Address: 55 Kingsclere Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire. RG21 6XG.

Site content last edited 11 September 2023 (Version 1.4) (Version 1.0 - 1st November 2017). Last update Monday 11 September 2023

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