Physiotherapy vs Osteopathy vs Chiropractic Therapies

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Physiotherapist would implement a very similar treatment program for any one person and their injury.

Traditionally, Chiropractic therapy was derived from Osteopathy. In fact the first Chiropractor was a student of the founder of Osteopathy. Therefore these two professions are very closely linked.

Chiropractors focus largely on the relationship between the spine and pelvis and any disorder that can arise from malalignment and pressure placed on the nervous system and how this can affect the function of the body. Chiropractors believe that any vertebral malalignment causes compression on nerves and therefore can refer symptoms and problems in the surrounding tissues and even further down into the limbs. Chiropractic therapy is more often than not centered on regular spinal manipulation so as to correct any spinal disorder. These sessions are often quick and regular and a set number of sessions are often discussed initially.

Osteopathy, similar to Chiropractic therapy, is a holistic manual therapy that focuses on any acute or chronic condition that ails the body, in particular the musculoskeletal and visceral systems. Osteopaths mainly focus on the underlying cause of the injury, taking all relevant factors into consideration, including the body as a whole and the patient’s lifestyle. Osteopaths adopt gentle and effective treatment techniques aimed at addressing any bio-mechanical dysfunction, including stretching, joint mobilisation, massage and sometimes manipulation. These sessions are often longer with more of a focus on muscular health and joint movement.

Physiotherapy is a more common practice, as their scope broadens to not only private practice but also in the public and private hospital system. Physiotherapists often focus on mobility and joint function, adopting similar treatment modalities as Osteopaths but also incorporating electrical therapy such as TENS and Ultrasound when appropriate. A Physiotherapist will also focus largely on exercise programs both at home and in a specially designed physiotherapy gym (often referred to as Clinical Pilates).

A physiotherapists treatment approach encompasses two angles; a focus on correcting any abnormality whether it be an acute injury, chronic injury, postural or gait abnormality, and the prevention of recurrence by a tailored exercise regime.Although these three health professionals may differ on paper, the end game and ultimate focus of all three professionals is consistent. Therefore, as a patient, your choice of which professional to see should be centered on your expectations and what you would like to achieve.

For more information on each of these professionals, please refer to the links below:
Physiotherapy: www.physiotherapy.asn.au
Osteopathy: www.osteopathic.com.au
Chiropractic: www.chiropractors.asn.au

Tim Thomas
Chief Physiotherapist
Mind Over Muscle

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