What are the differences with osteopathy versus physio?

Both osteopaths and physiotherapists are the mechanics of the body. They are well trained muscle and bone experts. And both work to increase mobility and relieve pain. However, there are some important differences between the noteworthy practices.

In general, physiotherapists tend to focus on rehabilitation, whereas osteopaths focus on maintenance or “preparation”. However, both professions are trained in recovery and maintenance and can adapt to what you need.

Osteopaths study your posture, range of motion, and lifestyle to find the root cause of your problem. Along with treatment, they will provide some helpful tips and routines to follow for preventing these problems from escalating. An osteopath treats cases such as back pain, arthritis, shoulder pain, simple neck pain, and muscle and joint pain from driving or working.

Manual stretching and manipulation

The examination by an osteopath will ask about your lifestyle and daily activity level, as it is a routine examination as well as a physical examination. Then check your posture and range of motion. To treat patients, osteopaths use manual stretching and manipulation to put bones back into place. The process isn’t painful, but your doctor may require you to move your body with something you’re not used to. You may feel some pain for a few days after treatment as your form adapts to the changes.

Meanwhile, physiotherapy often comes in after an injury or illness and is a key part of the recovery process. Where an osteopath works to realign your entire form, physiotherapists are more precise, working on specific parts of the body that have been weakened by injury or illness and boosting their strength and mobility.

Musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries

Physiotherapy deals with cases such as Sporting injuries, Musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries, Chronic back and neck pain, issues with movement related to the brain and nerves, cardiovascular issues, such as rehabilitation after a heart attack, Issues with the respiratory system as well as pre- and post- natal care.

Physiologists also commonly use manual therapy consisting of stretching and joint manipulation. Another important component of physical therapy is exercise. Some physical therapists have their own expertise and, depending on their training, can provide more specific treatments such as IMS, trigger point therapy, dry acupuncture, and kinesiology taping.

Osteopathy uses a holistic approach to looking at the whole body and finding the root of problems. Physiotherapy is all about focusing on problem areas.

Osteopathic therapy is preventive and aims to avoid potential problems with small lifestyle changes. Physical therapy aims to restore and rehabilitate areas already weakened by injury or disease.

Osteopathic treatment is basically manipulating the body to bring it back to normal. Physical therapy focuses on exercises that are more active and aim to increase strength and range of motion. They are very similar and use manual therapy along with exercise therapy.

Their disciplines are considered so similar and complementary that, as is the case in our clinic, osteopaths now work alongside physiotherapists in the NHS.

* Contact Reach Physiotherapy for a list of references used for this blog content.