December 5, 2017

Chiro Vs. Physio Vs. Osteo – Whats the difference?

chiro physio osteo statistic

Some interesting statistics that have been revealed this year within the professions are the number of practitioners and the amount of patient visits through out the year of 2017.

 The Australian practitioner registration board and the insurance regulation authority provided the following information:

Registered Practitioners Treatments provided (Q3 2017)
Chiropractors 5286 2,326,034
Osteopaths 2238 245,753
Physiotherapists 30,574 2,974,075

Research from the Chiropractic association of Australia suggests that eight out of ten Australians will, at some point in their lifetime suffer from back pain, and seven out of ten will suffer from neck pain. The cost of sick days, workers compensation and early retirement attributed to lower back pain is costing the Australian economy up to $12 billion dollars a year.

Often we are asked by our patients what is the difference between Australian Chiropractors, physiotherapists or osteopaths. Other questions include what is the difference between treatment styles, who should they see with regards to a specific complaint or pain and, what is the best for their own issue.

In short, all Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Osteopaths who are legally registered to practice in Australia hold, at minimum a specific level of training.  Generally speaking all three chiropractors, physiotherapists and osteopaths require a 4-5 year university degree with hands on clinical placements.

All three professions are trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions. There are far more similarities between chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists as each profession evolves with ever changing advancements in best practice.

Chiropractors focus on diagnosis, management and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Emphasis is placed on reducing the effects and maintaining maximal function of the nervous system.

The primary modality for chiropractic treatment is through the application of safe and effective adjustments. An adjustment uses a controlled force, with specific direction, amplitude and velocity. The adjustment is applied to specific joints and adjacent tissues. Chiropractors commonly use adjustment procedures to influence joint and neurophysiological function.

Physiotherapists focus on maintaining and restoring movement, with emphasis towards improving functional ability where movement is threatened by external factors. Physiotherapists use a variety of different tools and modalities such as ultrasound and TENS devices to assist with treating symptoms. Treatment may include exercise programs, muscle re-educations. Soft tissue mobilization, assistance with the use of supports or splints and joint mobilization.

Osteopaths focus on global based conditions affecting the neuromusculoskeletal system, emphasizing improving circulation and management of pain.  Osteopathic treatment uses techniques such as stretching and massage for general treatment of soft tissues along with mobilization of specific joints and tissue structures. Osteopaths focus on circulation and bodily function as a holistic unit.

While there may be some differences, it’s important to remember that all three professions are able to help patients recover from pain and injury while improving quality of life.

According to the European spine journal a survey of clinical guidelines across 16 countries, 14 of the recommendations included chiropractic care for the management  of lower back pain.

If you are still unsure whom you should consult, give our wonderful team at Complete Chiropractic a call and our skilled practitioners can advise on your specific condition.