I’m going to talk about a question I’m frequently asked: What’s the difference between an Osteopath, Physiotherapist and Chiropractor?
Osteopathy is a hands-on manual therapy involving a combination of deep tissue massage, stretching, mobilisations, manipulations and exercise to in
crease the mobility of joints, reduce muscle tension
and ease pain.Osteopaths work holistically, which means they assess and examine the whole body in order to identify and treat the underlying cause of the problem. For example if you’re seeking treatment for knee pain, the osteopath will also assess
your ankle, foot, hip, pelvis and back and give you advice on how to improve your posture to reduce the strain on your knee.Treatment aims to restore balance between the muscles, joints, ligaments and nerves to ensure smooth functioning.
Physiotherapy involves the use of exercise, soft tissue massage, mobilisations and sometimes electrotherapy (e.g. ultrasound) to relieve pain, decrease stiffness and improve range of movement in a joint.
Physiotherapists identify and treat the factors limiting an individual’s movement and performance.
Treatment has a particular emphasis on exercise-based management and is generally more area specific than osteopathic treatment. For example if you were having physiotherapy treatment on your knee, a physiotherapist would mostly work in the area around the knee joint, as well as giving you some specific exercises to do at home to aid muscle recovery.
Chiropractic treatment involves manipulations, soft tissue massage and exercise, with an emphasis on the use of manipulative techniques, particularly to the spine.
Chiropractors primarily work on the spinal and muscular systems.
They follow the principal that the spine is part of the body’s central nervous system and therefore controls all aspects of the body’s functions. Dysfunctions in the spine can manifest as pain, discomfort or reduced mobility. Spinal manipulation aims to remove these dysfunctions, restoring balance to the nervous system which in turn helps to restore balance to the surrounding muscles.
Overall, all 3 therapies have similarities but their approach to treatment is different. Most importantly when it comes to choosing find a therapist that is fully qualified and registered with the appropriate governing body. Ask for recommendations from friends/family and seek out a therapist you trust and feel comfortable around.