Runners – Know Your Health Professionals!

What is the freaking difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor????  This nurse kittylittle guide is for the runner seeking expert advise. Its always good if you can identify a quack by sight.



What they do/DONT do

A chiropractor focuses on manipulation of the musculoskeletal system, yup these are the guys who will give your back a good crack. The idea is that if they put your bones back in the right place then the other issues will sort themselves out.

It’s all ‘dem bones dem bones them dry bones.

chiropratThe theory is that if the spine is okay then the nerves will ‘magically’ improve your general health. Okay, okay I’m being a bit sarcastic here without meaning to. A chiropractor will have a freaking amazing knowledge of the anatomy, (and they are trained to read an x-ray) but they do tend to get a bit obsessed with the spine. There’s definitely something to it, and I do like having my vertebrae in the right order. However if you have a calf strain these might not be the best people to see.

How long they’ve studied

In the UK they have at least a 3 year bachelors degree as well as being registered with the The General Chiropractic Council (and you can look for a registered chiropractor here)

 What To Look For

 Always check that your therapist is registered with the governing body for your area.


What they do/DONT do

We pretty much don’t care what’s wrong with you. This is only for our own gratification. blogging-memeJust tell us we’re pretty.

How long they’ve studied

However long we say, halve it. Our knowledge actually comes from Men’s Health and Runners World Articles.

What To Look For

How many selfies we’ve posted today

Massage Therapist

What they do/DONT do

What massage therapists do varies considerably. Legally, there’s nothing stopping you going out and buying a massage bed and setting up shop after a one day course. If you book one the important thing to do is ask the right questions.untitledKITTYMASSAG

Some are absolutely amazing, with experience and knowledge of anatomy that rivals biology phd students, others well…..don’t.

There are also different types of massage!

Your bog standard spa massage is purely for relaxation only. Yes you might have shelled out your hard earned cash to sort out muscular problems for nothing. It’s not the therapists fault, they’re delivering the product. We should know what we’re buying.

Massage therapists may also give you an idea to what they think is wrong with you but they can NOT diagnose.

Massage (the right kind) is all about treating the MUSCLES. However, it can also improve the immune response, help headaches and help with depression and anxiety if delivered properly.

Many massage therapists also do not do feet so if it’s below the ankle check first.

How long they’ve studied

As little as one day, as long as three years.

What To Look For

If you want a massage that will improve your performance or help your recovery then you need to look for a therapist that specialises in Sports Massage, Myofascial Release or Deep Tissue.

Swedish, Hot Stone and Aromatherapy are a lovely treat but they are strictly for pampering.

Check for membership of governing bodies, in the UK, REPS or FHT.

A proper consultation and aftercare information.


What they do/DONT do

Yeah….what ever you’ve got, we’re pretty sure it’s the same thing we had, even if the symptoms are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

How long they’ve studied

We’re 10 Candy Crush Saga Levels away from our Level 2 Bro’ pert Award.

What To Look For

The best before date on the pills they’ve given you, whether they are legal in this country, and why they came in a bag that smells heavily of faeces.


What they do/DONT do

Both these terms are protected. This means they should have studied at university, and be a registered member of The Association for Nutrition or The British Dietetic Association. These guys will KNOW their stuff when it comes to food, vitamins and your body. As I’ve stressed in a previous blog, this is important as it’s a more complicated business than it looks.

How long they’ve studied

3 year degree

What To Look For

Membership of The Association for Nutrition or The British Dietetic Association

Nutritional Consultant (variations of)

What they do/DONT do

Again, some of these are amazing people with years of experience, but because they happened not to go to university or didn’t register with the council can not use the protected terms. These nutritional consultants have practical experience of being around
clients as well as the knowledge and are a great resource.

Others worked for a week at Holland and Barrett before setting up shop on their own. Because of this there are some with some pretty crazy ones with theories with absolutely NO scientific basis out there.

Here are some of my favourites

Dr Natasha McBride and the GAPS Diet!

Chris Kresser – Saturated Fat is OK folks!!!!! Go eat some bacon!


Drum roll please!!!!!!!!!!

The Paleo Diet! – these bloggers pretty much sum up my feelings on this here and here

studyingHow long they’ve studied

10 minutes, no really. If you go hereand spend £50 in 3 hours you too could be a practising nutritional consultant!

What To Look For

I know I’ve said this A LOT but registration of a non Mickey Mouse governing body, as stoolthey require minimum standards and will not accept just any old internet qualification.

If they start doing any weird muscle stress tests, ask for your spit, hair or stare into your eyes then RUN!


What they do/DONT do

Very similar to a chiropractor (although don’t tell them I said that), apart from the fact they can’t read an x-ray. Osteopath’s slightly less into the spine than the chiropractors
cat massage(only slightly) and use stretching and pulsing to help the nerves and connective tissue in the other joints in the body. Basically a chiropractor will crack your back, these guys will give your legs a wiggle. They also like to brag about their ability to treat headaches.

How long they’ve studied

At least a three year degree.

What To Look For

Membership of the General Osteopathic Council (mandatory)


What they do/DONT do

Physiotherapists are your jack of all trades when it comes to recovery. They cover all the body’s major systems and know their £$^*%. They will most likely have a specialism such as sports, neurology, the elderly etc. Obviously make sure you’re with the right one. They do muscles, bones, respiratory, circulatory and a few other bits for luck. They can give a diagnosis.funny-lion-getting-a-foot-massage-445x299

They help through giving exercises, stretches, use of electrotherapy (TENS) and manual therapy although not necessarily massage. Your physiotherapist MIGHT be a massage therapist as well, but they also might not be.

How long they’ve studied

3 year degree minimum and registration to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

What To Look For

Check the specialism of your physiotherapist, because they are jack of all trades I find physios tend to have a blind spot below the ankle, but this is not all of them.


What they do/DONT do

Great for getting your pre race nail cut as well as checking your bio mechanics and sorting out your flat feet. A great addition to a runner’s care plan.

How long they’ve studied

3 year degree minimum

What To Look For

Again it’s all about the wording, a chiropodist/podiatrist will do the technical stuff podiat(especially look for one that specialises in biomechanics) but a standard pedicure at a salon is just going to make you look pretty and not sort the plantar fasciitis.


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2 Responses to Runners – Know Your Health Professionals!

  1. Great post. My chiropractor works on my feet, ankles, calves, hips in addition to my back. In fact, he hasn’t done a traditional adjustment (crack) in awhile. He practices ART (active release therapy), but not all chiros do. I think he’s a miracle worker for when I’ve had running issues or injuries.

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