Not Sure Whether to Choose an Osteopath or a Physio?

What's the difference between an Osteopath and a Physiotherapist?

What's the difference between Osteopathy and Physiotherapy?

These are some of the most frequently asked questions by patients when considering making an initial appointment. Whilst there are considerable similarities between Osteopathy and Physiotherapy, there is also variation in how they are practiced. Both Osteopathy and Physiotherapy are recognised primary health care professions, yet each profession is derived from independent schools of thought and as such their approach to patient treatment differs.

Osteopath Vs Physio - What's the Difference?

Both Osteopathy and Physio incorporate orthopaedic and neurological examination to make a diagnosis and advise the use of similar exercises and application of self-care strategies (such as use of heat or cold packs) as part of patient management. The differences between the two professions perhaps becomes more apparent in the range of techniques used, how and to where in the body treatment is applied, and the underlying philosophy behind why such techniques are applied.

The Physiotherapist Approach

Physiotherapists are generally recognised for their work in managing and rehabilitating patients post injury or surgery and are trained with an emphasis on exercise-based management. Physiotherapists generally focus specifically on the areas of injury, treating the site of pain. They use a range of techniques including ultrasound, soft tissue or massage to the local area, stabilising injuries with tape, and remedial and rehabilitation exercises. Physiotherapy sessions generally last an hour.

The Osteopaths Approach

Osteopaths typically work with their emphasis more on muscles, joints and the mobility of spinal segments rather than specifically on the area of pain, the spine and the nervous system. The inter-relationships between all areas and tissues of the body are considered when devising treatment and management plans, a ‘holistic’ approach. Osteopaths, in a sense, work with a mixture of chiropractic and physiotherapy techniques in their treatments, applying manipulations to the spine and other joints - like chiropractors, but also apply soft tissue therapy similar to physiotherapists, such as massage, gentle joint articulation and rehabilitation exercise prescription. Osteopaths may also incorporate visceral osteopathic techniques and cranial osteopathy techniques into treatments.

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