The Difference Between Chiropractic, Physiotherapy and Osteopathic therapy

Helping You Understand How Your Osteopathic Treatment Will Work

Many people ask us how osteopathic therapy is different from physiotherapy, chiropractic care or massage.

The answers to that question don’t neatly fit onto one line.
Let’s start with the similarities:
The difference between osteopathy, chiropractic and physio

Osteopathic therapy, physiotherapy, chiropractic care and massage share a common philosophy: The integrity of the spine is important in
ensuring good health.

In fact, this philosophy is shared by almost all traditional healing arts, including yoga, tai chi and chi gong. It is also found in many modern complementary and alternative treatment modalities, including Alexander Technique and Structural Integration, which is also known as Rolfing.
Now for the differences:

Generally people are motivated to seek a therapist because of pain or impaired movement. Let’s look at how the same problem might be treated
by the different types of therapists.
Imagine you have a shoulder injury. You play some recreational golf, and each year you get a twinge in your shoulder at the beginning of the
season. You’d like to play golf pain-free and you’d like the pain dealt with once and for all.
You try physiotherapy . . .

Your treatment time will vary from 15 to 30 minutes.
The physiotherapist assesses your shoulder using standard orthopedic tests and reaches the conclusion that there is some impingement of
one of the rotator cuff muscles, which is a very common shoulder injury.
The therapist might choose to use some ultrasound on your shoulder .
You will get some specific exercises to increase strength to any weakened muscles of your shoulder.
The treatment may or may not include hands-on work. If it does, it will probably just be focused on your shoulder or upper ribs.
You are asked to come back twice a week for eight treatments.

You try chiropractic care . . .

Your treatment time will vary from 5 to 30 minutes for your first appointment, and last for about 5 minutes in subsequent sessions.
Like the physiotherapist, the chiropractor might assess your shoulder using some standard orthopedic tests. The tests might also include an
assessment of your spine, often using xrays.
The chiropractor will be looking at the parts of your spine where the nerves to the shoulder come out, checking for what is called a subluxation.
From the chiropractic perspective, the spine can become minutely out of alignment, and the resulting subluxations inhibit nerve flow, which can
cause joints to become injured.
Treatment will probably involve manipulating your spine to free up the nerves so that they can control your shoulder better.
You are probably asked to come back two to three times a week for three weeks. You will then slowly decrease the frequency of your treatments
until you are on some sort of monthly maintenance program to check for general subluxations.

You try massage . . .

Your treatment time is usually an hour.
The massage therapist will probably feel what muscles are tight and will just work on those muscles.
Generally you will lie down and the therapist will massage the tight or sore muscles to increase blood flow to the area to speed up the healing.
You will probably be encouraged to come back whenever you feel the need

You come try osteopathic therapy at our clinic . . .

Your first treatment lasts one hour. Subsequent treatments last 45 minutes.
We assess your shoulder to find our which areas are damaged.
We then assess your spine to see if the nerves to your shoulder are compromised. In this way we are similar to a chiropractor.

We also look further afield because your shoulder does not work in isolation:

We assess the quality of movement around some of your internal organs pertinent to your shoulder, including your lungs, liver and gall bladder. Amazingly the liver and gall bladder can both cause shoulder pain via a miscommunication in the spine that has an overlap in nerve feedback from
both the shoulder and these organs.
We assess other joints that work in conjunction with your shoulder, especially your wrists, elbows, neck and hips.
We might even choose to look at movement patterns. For example, we’d ask you to demonstrate your golf swing technique to see if any
restrictions in your hips or neck are placing too much work on your shoulder.

The treatment is strictly hands-on.

The hands of an osteopathic therapist are more sensitive and knowledgeable than any type of machine. We don’t use ultrasound or any other
machine to help us understand what’s going on.
We find we get the best results by keeping the treatment to the work of our trained hands.
We are trained to do strong manipulations, joint movements and massage techniques.
We also know how to use our hands in a very subtle way to gently free restrictions around organs and other deep body structures to restore
health to your body as a whole.

The course of treatment with osteopathic therapy

We might ask you back in one or two weeks.
On average, we will want to see you about four to six more times over a two- to three-month period to make sure the problem goes away.
That will also give us a chance to help you with any other problems we find that we think will cause you trouble in the future.

What other people say about the differences between manual therapists: