Osteopaths, Chiropractors , Physiotherapists… what’s the difference?

This is a question we are often asked, there are differences, but also many similarities and often it is matter of personal preference as to which one is most suited to you. All three therapies are well recognised and fully regulated, all three therapies work using hands on manual therapy to alleviate the wide range of problems that can occur within the musculoskeletal system.

Physiotherapy is probably the best known as it is the physical therapy most often used within the NHS. Physiotherapy is a broad discipline, therapists do sometimes use massage and manipulation but they are perhaps best known for using rehabilitation exercises and electrical treatment modalities such as ultrasound and inferential. Physiotherapy tends to look at the troubled area and treat that whereas osteopaths and chiropractors would look more at the body as a whole and are interested in why a problem is not resolving or how it might affect other areas of the body.

Osteopaths and chiropractors have 4 years of intense training and treat a wide range of ailments and use a wide variety of techniques. The difference between the two is mainly in their philosophy and the spacing out of treatments. Generally speaking Chiropractors tend to opt for more regular short treatments and osteopaths tend towards weekly treatments. On the whole there are many similarities and each individual practitioner will have their own approach.

Both Osteopaths and chiropractors are perhaps best known for their use of joint manipulation or ‘thrust’ techniques where a joint is manipulated and a click may be heard as it releases. These techniques help to increase joint mobility and alleviate stiffness and pain. They are useful, but they are not the only way that osteopaths treat and are not always an appropriate treatment choice. Osteopaths also use soft tissue massage, joint manipulation, trigger point work, strain and counter strain and in some cases cranial sacral therapy and visceral osteopathic techniques.

Which should you opt for? Do your research and find a practitioner who is well known or recommended in your area. If you are worried or unsure if you can be helped give them a call or email and talk to them about your case before you commit to an appointment. We are always happy to speak to patients prior to booking 01677 425858

www.osteopathy.org.uk for more information on registered osteopaths

www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk for chiropractors or www.csp.org.uk for chartered physiotherapists