We often get asked about the differences between these two healthcare professions. Sometimes people are unsure who to see for their musculoskeletal problem, as both Osteopathy and Physiotherapy aim to alleviate pain and improve mobility. Being unsure who to see is understandable, so let's explore the differences.
Let's start with Osteopathy...
Osteopathy uses a holistic approach, meaning that the body is treated as a whole to detect the root cause. Osteopaths use physical manipulation, stretching and massage to detect, treat and help in the prevention of health problems. Osteopathy can help with:
Increasing the mobility of the joints
Relieving muscle tension
Encouraging blood supply to body tissues
Acupuncture can also be used as a technique to treat musculoskeletal pain. Dry needling is used to relieve muscle pain and tension. Osteopaths will incorporate this into treatment if deemed appropriate.
What can an Osteopath help with?
Repetitive strain injuries
Neck and back pain
Muscle and joint pain
Now to Physiotherapy...
Physiotherapy is more targeted, i.e. they work on the problem area.
Physiotherapists can help with:
Restoring movement and function when someone is affected by illness, injury or disability.
Relieving pain and stiffness
Strengthening specific parts of the body
Using the correct techniques for lifting and sitting
What can a Physiotherapist help with?
Post surgery rehabilitation
Lets look at an example...coming to the clinic with knee pain
As mentioned earlier, an Osteopath treats the body as a whole, so they may look at your knee, but also your hip and back and treat these areas too. This is because sometimes you may have referred pain. Referred pain is pain that is perceived at another location other than the initial site of pain. An osteopath may advise on improving posture and reducing load on the knee. Strengthening exercises may also be given.
A physiotherapist would work more around the knee joint itself. They may also provide some exercises for you to do at home.
Of course, if you would like further advice or support on what treatment is right for you, please get in touch today.