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What's the Difference Between Osteo, Physio and Chiro?

While this is one of the most frequently asked questions, it can also be a long winded one that includes history, philosophies and principles, methods of treatment, and appointment times.

Before we begin to talk about it, we want to make it clear that receiving the right treatment for YOU is less about going to the right practitioner and more about going to the right practitioner for YOU. Being able to trust and be comfortable with your practitioner is going to greatly impact your outcome, and is just as important as having the correct qualification. Why is this the case? Well simply put, the professions are different, but so too are the practitioners within each profession.

Snapshot of the Different Therapies

Osteopathy is a profession that is no longer an “alternative” therapy but is considered “complimentary” and as such aims to work with, not against, other medical professions in order to create a positive outcome for the patient that is as beneficial and speedy as possible. Philosophically, osteopaths generally regard treatment in a much broader and holistic approach by looking at the entire person (including musculoskeletal health, vascular health, nerve health, and mental health) as well as assessing the patient’s external environment (including work place activity, lifestyle, diet, hobbies, and mode of injury).  Osteopathy was created by Andrew Taylor Still in 1870. He was a physician who desired to deepen his understanding of human anatomy in new and different ways.

Physiotherapy is a profession born in 1906 when massage therapists and nurses teamed up during the first world war and saw that there needed to be a way of rehabilitating injured soldiers returning from the war. As such, physiotherapists will include rehabilitation exercises and techniques (to varying degrees) within their treatments in order to decrease and remove symptoms.

Chiropractic was invented  in 1895 by Daniel David Palmer of Iowa, America. He is credited with performing the first chiropractic adjustment on a patient by readjusting the vertebra on the spine out of position. Palmer concluded that through proper assessment and manipulation of the spine, the majority of diseases could be affected as they seemed to stem from the spine and spinal nerves. As such most chiropractors will assess and treat the spine before moving onto other areas within the body.

Due to an increase in research based medicine for musculoskeletal ailments, all three modalities have progressed and begun to overlap, resulting in many techniques being commonly used by all. All professions are required to continuously perform professional development. As such, there are many physiotherapists who go on to further study joint manipulation and there are many chiropractors that no longer just manipulate the spine but instead focus on a more holistic approach.

At Muna Osteopathy you will find that once we have determined the cause of your symptoms, the treatment will include some hands-on work that may include functional movement, joint manipulation, muscle-energy techniques, soft tissue mobilisation techniques, rehabilitation programs, and more gentle cranio-sacral techniques. Regardless of what we do, each treatment is completely dependent on what YOU are presenting with, as well as taking into consideration what YOU are comfortable with. Thus the result leads back to finding a practitioner that covers as many of these as possible, and whom you trust and are comfortable working with.

As osteopaths in a clinical setting we consider treatment time to be of paramount importance. We believe we need to truly understand how and why the injury occurred and we want YOU to have the time to completely understand us and the treatment provided.

Our first treatment is one hour in length and will cover your past medical history, current injury history, a musculoskeletal assessment (to assess not just your symptomatic areas but ensure that associated areas aren’t the underlying cause), treatment (depending on the diagnosis), as well as providing prescribed rehabilitation (depending on the diagnosis). All subsequent treatments are approximately 30 minutes in length and involve any changes to your current injury history, musculoskeletal assessment, treatment (depending on the diagnosis), as well as prescribed rehabilitation (depending on the diagnosis).