Osteopathy and physiotherapy are university-trained health professions that are government registered in Australia. They work as primary healthcare practitioners, meaning you don’t need a medical referral to see them.
Both treat musculoskeletal conditions, which are the body’s bones, muscles and ligaments. Their treatment techniques include joint manipulation to improve circulation and enhance function.
Guide to Non-Surgical Pain Relief
While it may seem confusing when deciding whether to see an Osteopath, Physiotherapist or Chiropractor all three have one common goal of helping to ease your pain and help your body work better. However they go about this differently.
Physiotherapy is focused on healing injuries and disorders with non-invasive treatments. They work to heal the whole person using a range of techniques that include manual therapy (such as joint and soft tissue manipulation), exercise prescription, electrotherapy and lifestyle advice.
People come to physiotherapists for back, neck and muscle problems; postural problems; sciatica; and various other painful conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and sports injuries. Many of these musculoskeletal issues can be treated with manipulation and mobilisation of joints, muscles and ligaments as well as other soft tissue techniques such as myofascial release and deep tissue massage.
Both osteopathic and chiropractic treatments are based on the idea that the body is a system with parts of it interconnected. They both rely on manual manipulation of bones and joints. They believe that spinal adjustment can fix misaligned vertebrae and unblock the nervous system to improve a number of health conditions including asthma, ADHD, infantile colic, bedwetting and high blood pressure.
Both osteopathic and chiropractic treatments involve the use of hands on techniques to restore the body’s alignment, flexibility and function through gentle manipulation of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and circulation. These methods can reduce pain, promote healing and prevent the return of the original problem.
What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a hands-on healing practice that focuses on the bones, muscles, tendons, and connective tissue. Practitioners are called osteopaths or DOs (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine).
Founded more than 100 years ago, osteopathic principles believe that the body can heal itself if its structure is balanced. The founder, Andrew Taylor Still, believed that problems in the spine sent nerves to all organs of the body and made people sick. He developed osteopathic manipulation treatment, or OMT, which improves nerve and blood circulation to help the body function better.
DOs use OMT to diagnose and treat many health problems. They begin each session by asking questions about symptoms, lifestyle, and health history. The DO then performs an examination by touching or pressing on different parts of the body, including joints, muscle groups, and the head. If the DO suspects an illness or injury, they may order X-rays or laboratory tests to make a diagnosis.
DOs use OMT to treat musculoskeletal conditions, such as back and neck pain, sciatica, headaches, and joint pain. They also use it to address respiratory issues, such as asthma and sinusitis; bowel problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome and constipation; and obstetrical complications, such as swelling (edema) and insomnia in pregnancy. In addition to OMT, DOs are licensed to practice conventional medical and surgical treatments.
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a complementary healthcare profession that treats the musculoskeletal system, which consists of a person’s muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons. Chiro Balwyn North perform spinal manipulation and other manual techniques to improve a patient’s overall health. Chiropractors also work with other healthcare professionals to promote comprehensive patient care.
Chiropractors use controlled thrusts on your spine and other parts of your body to align your muscles and bones, reduce pain, and improve your movement and physical function. Unlike DOs, chiropractors don’t specialize in a specific area of medicine and focus on the whole body. This is why they often treat other problems like knee pain, not just the knee itself.
To become a chiropractor, you need to earn a doctorate in a field like human anatomy or physiology, complete a hands-on internship, and pass a state exam. Most states require a chiropractor to have a license to practice.
A chiropractor’s job is to help your body heal itself using natural means, rather than drugs or surgery. Chiropractors also teach patients exercises, stretching, and healthy lifestyle habits to help manage their condition and prevent it from recurring. Chiropractors may recommend dietary supplements and herbs, as well as prescribe exercise or provide massage therapy. You should avoid getting chiropractic treatments if you have osteoarthritis or a slipped disc, are pregnant, or are on anticoagulants.
What is Physiotherapy?
Physio Balwyn North are healthcare professionals who promote health and wellbeing through education, exercise and a range of manual therapies. Unlike chiropractors and osteopaths they do not prescribe drugs or perform invasive procedures. Physiotherapists also work alongside doctors and can help you find the right specialist for your condition.
Their main role is to assess, diagnose and treat physical problems associated with different systems in the body such as the neuromuscular (nerves and muscles), musculoskeletal (soft tissues, bones and joints), respiratory (lungs) and cardiovascular (heart). They use a problem-solving approach based on scientific evidence and are the only non-invasive healthcare profession that offers the option of hands on manual techniques, therapeutic exercise, heat, cold, light, water massage and stretching for pain management.
Osteopaths are similar to physiotherapists in their approach but tend to take a more holistic approach. This means that whilst a practitioner may focus on a specific area of the body they will also take into account your lifestyle and current medical conditions. There is limited high quality research into osteopathic techniques but it seems that like chiropractic they do have some benefits especially when combined with exercise and other healthcare approaches.
Some osteopaths may insist on a set programme of treatment after analysing x-rays or asking for upfront payment however this is less common than in the case of chiropractors. In general the quality of care can vary greatly and unless you are seeing an osteo Balwyn North who operates in line with evidence you might be better off seeking out a physiotherapist for the best results.