Understanding the Difference Between Physiotherapy, Osteopathy and Chiropractic Care

Understanding the Difference Between Physiotherapy, Osteopathy and Chiropractic Care

By Nordic Balance

What is the difference between physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic care? This is a question that we get asked a lot.


Read on to find a definition of all three treatments, their benefits and understanding the similarities and differences of each practice helping you to make a more informed decision.


What are the similarities between physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic?


Physiotherapy, Osteopathy and Chiropractic are all-natural therapies that treat muscular or skeletal injuries and conditions. They are commonly used alongside each other in a highly effective form of natural holistic treatment.


While these treatments deal with joint and soft tissue damage, they are also highly effective solutions for poor circulation, digestion, migraines, and muscle pains.


As part of this natural approach, physiotherapists, osteopaths, and chiropractors will all use their expertise to diagnose a problem through touch.


These three treatment types are also renowned for their impressive history. They have a strong sense of philosophy, largely thanks to their history, making them highly favoured amongst natural holistic practitioners.


Each job title comes with specific qualifications, which medical specialists must complete to classify themselves. As a result, someone can be both a Chiropractor and Physiotherapist, but only if they have completed both sets of separate, specialist training.


The ‘o’ part of their name links the three treatment types under the same shared values and style. The differences lie in the methods, area of specialisms and the specific approaches they take.


Although they sound similar, what each of the therapies does is unique.


What does a Physiotherapist do?


The role of a physiotherapist can be defined as helping a patient restore their body’s function and ability to move after an injury or illness or to limit the impact that a disability has on their body’s movement.


Physiotherapists use a personally tailored bio-psycho-social approach to provide the best treatment for the individual’s specific circumstances.


As you can imagine, physiotherapists deploy a wide range of skills and techniques to treat a vast array of conditions.


Physiotherapists can help to improve nerve function, muscle strength and flexibility, joint function, joint mobility, and movement throughout the body.


Physiotherapy is a highly effective treatment for post-operative rehabilitation after knee surgery (for example) to alleviate pain in arthritic joints, treat whiplash, reduce growing pains or help prevent postural pains.


Physiotherapists can:

– Recommend lifestyle changes or additions.

– Provide a one-to-one, personally-tailored approach

– Provide a preventative treatment for conditions before they get worse

– Significantly speed up recovery

– Be a dependable form of support during the recovery process

– Provide clients with actionable tips and guidance that they can do every day

– Help clients to find out what caused the problem so that it won’t happen again

– Build clients’ knowledge

– Work with clients to build an entire recovery plan

– Provide highly specialist treatments – such as our Women’s Health Physiotherapy treatments


What does an Osteopath do?


An osteopath will help to treat a patient mainly using manual musculoskeletal treatments. They can treat a wide range of musculoskeletal issues, including back pain, sciatica, neck pain, headaches and degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis.


With osteopathy sessions, professionals focus on a patient’s overall wellbeing by improving the function of the musculoskeletal system and helping these areas work together more effectively.


By understanding the root cause of the problem and assessing the overall alignment and structure of the body, osteopaths can detect health conditions, alleviate acute and chronic pain and naturally prevent these conditions from worsening.


By manipulating the skeletal, muscular, tissues, and ligaments, osteopathy helps patients treat various conditions, including muscular and skeletal disorders and other less-obvious illnesses, like digestive, circulatory, and respiratory conditions.


Osteopaths use professional manipulation techniques, adjustments and mobilisations to improve structural alignment and reduce pain.


Osteopathy is also a highly effective treatment for muscle spasms, digestion problems and migraines.


Osteopaths can:

– Help to improve the entire body’s function.

– Increase joint mobility

– Reduce acute and chronic pain

– Increase blood flow in certain areas

– Speed up the recovery process

– Alleviate tension in the muscles or nerves

– Naturally treat a wide range of health conditions


What does a Chiropractor do?


Although a chiropractic treatment session may sound similar to one of osteopathy, there are several key differences.


As with osteopaths, chiropractors treat joint and muscular issues, like tennis elbow or low back pain. But, the chiropractor’s primary focus is typically the spine’s alignment.


While osteopaths focus on the whole body, chiropractors conduct a more focused approach by assessing the spine’s health.


But, even though it is a particular form of treatment, trained chiropractors can effectively treat health conditions across the body by manipulating the spine’s alignment.


Chiropractic care is a highly effective treatment for sleep disorders, arthritis, migraines, neck pain, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia and bursitis.


Chiropractors can:

– Focus on the spine’s alignment

– Help to treat pain

– Alongside manual treatments, chiropractors use technology to assist their treatments. This can include MRI scans, blood tests or X-rays.

– Improve the operation of the nervous system

– Provide a quick, shorter-term session of treatments

– Provide highly effective treatment for back or neck pain


A holistic approach


To summarise…


Physiotherapists improve a patient’s movement level after an operation, illness or the limitations of a disability.


Osteopaths use manual muscular and skeletal treatments.


Chiropractors use treatments that are typically oriented around the alignment of the spine.


Despite all being different in their methods and specialisms, these three treatment types all link together. They are highly effective when used in conjunction with each other in a holistic model of natural treatment.


At Nordic Balance, our team of specialists work together to help patients achieve the best possible results for their recovery.


To understand which specialist you should see, get in touch with our team. They will guide you to the best practitioner.


Want to get in touch? We have 3 locations across London – St James’s SW1, Abbeville Road SW4 and Wimbledon Village SW19.


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