Dr. Belle Picco
It’s a question we get asked almost daily. The distinction between the three can be tough at the end best of times. Ultimately, all three want to help you get better and be pain free! Choosing which one is right for you can be hard, but hopefully this gives you a bit of an insight into who does what!
Osteopathy – more than just bones!
Osteopaths focus on the health of the entire body, rather than just the injured or affected part. They look at how your skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulatory system, connective tissue and internal organs function as a whole body unit. Examination involves standing posture assessment, primary movement patterns and biomechanics, lifestyle and past medical history.
In short, osteopaths treat in a holistic manner, recognising that no one part of the body is isolated from the next. Treatment will involve multiple techniques to enhance the bodies functioning, including but not limited to, mobilisation, stretching, soft tissue massage, myofascial release and manipulation as well as exercise prescription, lifestyle advice and patient education.
Chiropractic treatment is focused on treating and preventing musculoskeletal problems throughout the body, using manual adjustment of the spine. A chiropractor will use hands on spinal manipulations and additional techniques to guide their treatment.
Radiographic imaging is a primary focus for their examination in spinal alignment. The premise behind chiropractic care is that proper alignment of the musculoskeletal system, in particular the spine, will allow the body to self heal. While chiro is strongly associated with spinal manipulations they do incorporate other techniques such as soft tissue, mobilization and reflex techniques.
Physiotherapy is focused on movement and function, often following injury or surgery, or when dealing with a physical disability. A physio uses more exercise based treatment and management. They incorporate massage, stretching and hands-on manipulation to treat pain or dysfunction and to improve your mobility and flexibility. Physios are broken into three subsections, these include; musculoskeletal, cardiothoracic and neurological physiotherapists.
Musculoskeletal physiotherapists treat a range of injuries and illnesses. Physiotherapists use joint mobilization, soft tissue, muscle stretching and neurodynamic techniques to assist guide their treatments. A physio will also include a strong focus on rehabilitation to help strengthen and build up the injured area, aiming to prevent relapses.
In summary, it can’t be denied that in all three modalities there is an element of crossover. It is up to the individual to determine what works best for their body. Each area will diagnose and incorporate varying degrees of hands on treatment. If you have any further questions regarding what we as osteopaths can do for you do not hesitate to call our clinic and chat to one of the osteopaths!