Ask A Physio: Physio V Osteo V Chiro?

March 01, 2021 at 2:44 PM

Sean Lester is one of our Senior Physiotherapists, he has special interests in: musculoskeletal, sports injuries, return to sport planning & testing, movement analysis, post-surgical shoulder and knee rehabilitation. To book an appointment with Sean, or read his Meet the Team profile CLICK HERE.

Our Ask A Physio series is a collection of micro blogs aimed at giving a basic understanding to some frequently asked questions. If you have an injury or are experiencing discomfort please book for an assessment, or contact reception for more information.


Physiotherapist V Osteopath V Chiropractor?

The first thing to acknowledge here is that as health professionals, we're all after the same thing, the best outcomes for our clients! The best thing you can do is find a professional who works well with you, and puts a heavy emphasis on teaching you to be an expert on your own injury or issue.

In terms of approach, chiropractors and osteopaths share more in common with each other then they do with physiotherapists. They lean heavily on passive management, which is to say that they will do the work, while you lie on the bed or plinth. Chiropractors will tend to be more full on with their techniques, mainly manipulation ("clicking") of your joints. Osteopaths tend to be more gentle, mainly massage, mobilisation or traction. Physiotherapists are equally skilled in the same hands on work, but also rely heavily on active management, exercise programmes and advice.

These differences really come from differences in training and research. Since osteopaths and chiropractors in New Zealand are not university trained, they are generally happy to work without checking in on clinical trials or academic reviews. At a minimum, physiotherapists have a university degree, and many go on to finish postgraduate, masters or doctorate qualifications. When you step into a hospital or professional sports organisation, physiotherapists will be sharing space with nurses, doctors and the rest of the medical team. Current research and university programmes tell us that passive management is ok for early pain relief, but active management and long term lifestyle change fuels long term outcomes.



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Category: Ask A Physio