Categories :

How Do Physiotherapy And Osteopathy Differ?

How do physiotherapy and osteopathy differ? Which one is right for me?

Have you ever wondered about the difference between physiotherapy and osteopathy? Being qualified in physiotherapy and registered as an osteopath, I feel like I can definitely provide you with an accurate understanding of this topic.


Here at Medstead Osteopathic Practice, we are proud to boast two trained physiotherapists and osteopaths. We feel that we can provide our patients with a set of treatment skills that is unique. You could say that you are going to get the best of both worlds when you come to our clinic.

A lot of our clients ask about the difference and I will do my best to give you a little insight into how the two are similar and how they differ.

Physiotherapy revolves around providing help for people who have had an injury, or suffered an illness or disability, the help comes in the form of exercise and movement, as well as providing advice and information. This treatment is able to maintain good health for all ages of patients and targets the management of pain and prevention of disease.

Now, let’s move on to osteopathy, a treatment that works with the function and structure of the body. This line of treatment revolves around the principle that a person’s skeleton, muscles and ligaments and tissues need to function well together to provide good health. Physical manipulation, stretching, and massage are all used for the following:

  • to make the joints more mobile
  • to provide relief for muscle tension
  • to boost blood supply and nerve supply
  • to prompt the body to heal itself
    (General Osteopathic Clinic)

It would be my thought that while both of these professions provide treatment for joint and muscle problems, it tends to be osteopaths who are more likely to treat spinal problems, for example, pain in the back or the neck.

In general, an osteopath will treat fewer patients with peripheral joint problems, for instance, wrists, knees, ankles, and so forth.

As well as this, they treat fewer injuries related to muscles and tendons than physiotherapists do. I would estimate that arou8nd 80% of patients who attend an osteopath do so for spine related issues, with the exception of those that specialize in a certain area, of course. This compares to physiotherapists who have training and experience that gives them more familiarity with a wider caseload, both peripheral joint issues, muscle and tendon problems, and spinal matters.

The majority of our physiotherapists see around 50% peripheral joints and 50% spine issues. All research that is related to what the treatment protocols should be for tendon and muscle problems is physiotherapists-led. A lot of our physiotherapists have previously worked in the sports world or with sports governing bodies. Their level of experience in treating sports people with muscle or tendon pain tends to be high.

It is vital that you see someone who has a lot of experience in the condition that you need to be treated. With two decades of treating clients with a host of pain issues, I know that my best results come from treating a condition that I am familiar with.

Make sure that you research a therapist you plan to visit before you make an appointment.

Physiotherapy
The earliest record we have of physiotherapy dates back to 1813 for Per Henrik “Father of Swedish Gymnastics” and was for the treatment of soft tissue.
Physiotherapy is based on science and revolves around the best evidence we have for managing and providing treatment for pain.

Osteopathy
This medicine form is distinctive. The philosophy behind it is that the body functions are connected and depend on each other for good health. Dr Andrew Still’s work is the basis for the treatment.