What do I need a physiotherapist or an osteopath?

Although osteopathy is usually compared with physiotherapy, they are two totally independent specialties.

A bad movement has left you with a physiotherapist backache that has not allowed you to lead a normal life in recent days. When you decide to put an end to it, you have a dilemma: who to go to a physiotherapist or an osteopath? If you are not clear about the differences between these two disciplines of medicine , then we will clarify.

When you decide to seek the¬†help of a physiotherapist¬†or an osteopath, you do so seeking relief from an injury or discomfort.¬†The doubt about which professional to go to arises from the¬†similarity between these two fields¬†, as both help recover from pain or¬†eliminate muscle tension¬†.¬†However, it all depends on the type of injury you have.¬†Let’s see what are the¬†approaches of these two medical specialties¬†.

What are the concepts of physiotherapy and osteopathy?

Although the practice of physiotherapy and osteopathy are similar, it is the treatment approach and the diagnostic capacity that differentiates them . In the case of physiotherapy, the diagnostic capacity is much broader, is recognized by the national health system and is applied as a treatment for neurological, traumatological or pediatric problems.

For its part, osteopathy is recognized by the World Health Organization as an alternative medicine , although in Spain it does not have the same recognition as physiotherapy.

Osteopathy is a set of manual techniques based on the laws that govern life and living organisms¬†.¬†This specialty seeks to restore and maintain the body’s balance so that it recovers and retains its ability to self-regulate.

The physiotherapy , in addition to manual technique uses natural agents such as cold, heat, light, water and electricity to treat pain . It is unbeatable to reduce inflammation and chronic muscle pain or to help regain joint mobility after surgery.

Differences between physiotherapy and osteopathy

physiotherapist
Shot of a young smiling physical therapist and his patient

Physiotherapy

A physiotherapist follows a specific treatment plan for each type of injury and rehabilitation . In many cases, this type of plan works well, but there are patients who require a personalized rehabilitation plan.

Physical therapists can support their therapies with various types of medical equipment , such as ultrasound devices and others that can provide different types of stimuli to the affected areas such as cold, heat, light, etc. Patients who reach physiotherapists are referred by primary doctors.

Osteopathy

Given its principles, osteopathy attaches great importance to body structure . Osteopaths understand that all human body systems constitute a perfectly interconnected whole . They work on that basis to reconstruct the harmony that must exist throughout the body, at the skeletal, visceral and cranial muscle level.

There are different types of osteopathy:

Structural osteopathy : works on mobility restrictions in the musculoskeletal system, joint biomechanics and patient posture.

Visceral osteopathy : is the one that is responsible for balancing the visceral spine to restore normal blood circulation, improve the mobility and movement of the viscera.

Cranial osteopathy : focuses on the correct mobility of the skull bones and their relationship with the central nervous system.

Physiotherapy incorporates among its osteopathy technical treatments , then, to treat pain, they apply therapeutic exercise , the application of cold, heat, water, light, electricity and manual massage.

Therefore, it is claimed that osteopathy complements and enhances the results of physiotherapy . Clearly, physiotherapy is much broader, since it includes other fields of action and the use of other tools quite effective for treating pain.

Mayur Bhatt