Physio vs Chiro vs Osteo
What’s the difference and what do they do? Practitioners give OzSquad the low down…
Running an outdoor training group in Manly inevitably means that OzSquad gets asked questions along the lines of “my leg/back/foot/little finger hurts, who should I go and see?” from time to time.
There usually isn’t a single right answer to that question and often people have conflicting opinions depending on what kind of treatment they have had before. When it comes down to it, the truth is that there is actually a lot of overlap between the three professions in terms of the injuries and issues treated and the techniques used, however it is the philosophies behind the practices that differentiate them from each other.
Here we de-mystify the difference in philosophies and give you your options…. Physio vs Chiro vs Osteo…
Ravi Rudner of Village Chiropractic Manly explains that Chiropractic focuses on the delicate relationship between the structure and function of your body and says “the spine, skull and pelvis are vital for movement and the protection of the nervous system. The nervous system facilitates coordinated function within your body. It therefore follows that if your spine isn’t able to move in all directions it may impact on the health of the joints, the nervous system and/or your ability to function to your full potential resulting in an increased risk of injury or illness and potentially reduced performance.”
He says that at his practice there is a holistic approach to patient care and that they “try to get a good understanding of what’s stopping the client from healing on their own. Our assessment leads to a care plan that may include movement and nutrition advice, sleep and recovery help, muscle and other soft tissue care as well as spinal alignment correction. “
The main principle underpinning Chiropractic is that your body is a self-healing, self-regulating organism. Restoring proper nervous system flow and function to the body allows it to efficiently heal.
Spinal alignment correction and manipulation.
Jenni Davies of Beaches Pelvic Physio in Dee Why explains that Physios “aim to assess, diagnose and treat thoroughly based on evidence based practice (ie research)”. She says “Within that treatment our aim is to give the client relief and rehabilitate the injury, but also educate them on how to self-manage to optimise their long term recovery. It is a common misconception that Physios only treat muscle injuries but this is not the case.”
This is reiterated by Scot Thorn of MGS Physio in Manly who defines Physiotherapy as ”an evidence-based clinical health science where practitioners are required to use treatments only if their effectiveness has been demonstrated in scientific research. They help patients with chronic disease management, provide lifestyle modification and self-management advice, prescribe aids and appliances, prescribe and supervise exercises for both patients and carers, and provide health promotion education, occupational health assessments and injury prevention activities.”
Physiotherapy diagnosis and treatment is based on scientific research.
Various manual techniques such as massage and dry needling to provide immediate relief and education/exercise prescription (often Pilates type exercises) to manage the injury, restore normal strength and prevent it from occurring again.
Sometimes described as merging both physiotherapy and chiropractic, Osteopaths focus on how your skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves and circulation work together to improve your health & well-being.
Emily Geraghty, a member of Osteopathy Australia and practitioner at Abbotsford Medical Practice , explains that “Osteopathy is a manual therapy that focuses on a holistic body approach to the treatment of musculoskeletal pain”. She says “In other words, we do not only concentrate on treating the problem area, but rather look at the body as a whole unit (above and below the pain) to determine the real cause of the problem. For example, if someone presented with a knee problem we would not only assess and treat the knee but look at the hips, pelvis, back and even feet and ankles to see if an imbalance (altered biomechanics) exists in any of these, causing or contributing to the patient’s knee pain.”
Focuses on how all parts of the body (skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs) function together to improve your health & well-being. If one part of the body is restricted, then the rest of the body must adapt and compensate for this, eventually leading to pain/ stiffness/ inflammation and other health conditions.
Assists the body with pain minimisation, reduction of stress and tension and greater mobility, providing the body with the opportunity to heal itself using a wide range of techniques such as soft tissue massage and stretching, joint mobilisation and manipulation.
In summary! Physio vs Chiro vs Osteo…
As with most things health and fitness related – unfortunately there is no one right answer on who you should see for what type of injury or a ‘magic pill’ solution – if there was, we’d all be taking it!
Ultimately, find a person, an approach and a philosophy that works for you – for some, physio instructed ‘home exercises’ work well, others may need a regular hands on adjustment or manipulation to keep injuries at bay and their body on track. Regardless of which you choose, getting in to see a practitioner early on about any niggles may help swerve a more serious injury later on.
OzSquad’s top practitioner picks:
- MGS – Knowledgeable experienced physios with a range of specialisms within one practice.
- Bio Athletic – With a bias to keeping athletes on track, these are the go to guys in Manly for any running injuries.
- Beaches Pelvic Physio – Women’s health and pelvic floor specialists, a must see for any pre and post natal clients.
- Village Chiropractic Manly – a holistic Chiro approach to health and wellbeing, the practice provides an all round health check and recommendations
- Emily Geraghty – one of our own OzSquadders who works from Abbotsford Medical Practice. Catch her at a session to pick her Osteo brains and find reputable Osteopaths via Osteo Australia.