What Is The Difference Between Physio And Osteopath?

You’re probably wondering what the difference between a physio and an osteopath is, and you’re searching for all the required information to make the right choice when you need to nurse an injury or mobility issues.

Straight off the bat, physiotherapists and osteopaths treat these issues differently from one another. Once you’ve spoken to your practitioner about the problem you’re experiencing, you will be referred for treatment to either a physiotherapist or an osteopath, depending on the issue in concern.

So, what is the difference between physio and osteopath? Let’s read on and break them down.

Who Is An Osteopath?

Osteopaths are specially trained health professionals who treat people through manual healing methods to the whole body. This means they perform medical diagnoses, perform blood tests, surgeries and treatments that support overall body healing. 

If you suffer from headaches, body aches including shoulder, neck and back, joint and muscle pains or neurological pains, see an osteopath.

What Treatments Does An Osteopath Perform?

An osteopath can perform certain treatments to improve the overall conditioning of the patient. Osteopaths use techniques with their hands to help heal a physical injury. 

Here are some of the treatments an osteopath performs:

  • Techniques that increase mobility and strength
  • Relieving any muscle tension
  • Improving blood flow to tissue through soft tissue treatments
  • Pregnancy discomfort
  • Digestive issues
  • Postural issues
  • Mobilizing joints 

What Can You Expect When Visiting An Osteopath?

An osteopath reviews the medical history of a patient, including any previous scans or test results you may have. Then, the osteopath observes your movement and uncovers the issues you’re experiencing when performing a hands-on manipulation to identify muscle pain and aches.

As part of the observation, patients are required to perform mobility movements and stretches so the osteopath can determine how strong their posture is. Using a hands-on approach, the osteopath will press against the joints and tissues to determine any further pains.

There are multiple sessions an osteopath would set up as part of treatment. The end objective is to determine whether improvements are being made after every session.

What Does A Physio Do?

A physiotherapist is focused on improving movement and overall body functioning. This is typically following a physical injury. To do this, a physio uses massaging, stretching and exercise techniques to do so. 

Physio is typically performed in a clinic and in hospitals. First, the problem is identified and diagnosed, before a treatment plan is formed to support injury healing. 

Here are some of the treatments a physio performs:

  • Exercise techniques to improve mobility and strength
  • Improving mobilization
  • Relieving muscle tension, aches and pains
  • Neurological disorders
  • Recovery from an operation

What Can You Expect When Visiting A Physiotherapist?

At your first visit, your medical history will be reviewed, including any previous scans or test results you have. The physio also uses hands-on manipulation techniques to massage body tissue and the affected area. 

After the appointment, a physio will provide a treatment plan comprising of stretching and exercises to ensure gradual improvement. The physio would want to assess the results of the treatments in your next appointment.

So, What Is The Difference Between Physio And Osteopath? 

The responsibilities of an osteopath and a physio sound similar. Scientifically, this is true, but there are subtle differences you need to be aware of to answer the question; what is the difference between a physio and an osteopath?

Osteopaths focus on the whole body, regardless of the positioning of the injury or issue, whereas the physio focuses on the specific area and its tissue. Physios are likely to provide exercises to help improve the strength and mobility of the muscle area in question.

Whilst osteopath and physio both use hands-on manipulation, physio has other treatments to support such as electrotherapy and ultrasound.

Which Do I Choose?

Ultimately, it depends on what you’re looking for. Full body manipulation is something an osteopath can deliver, but if you’re experiencing concerns in a certain muscle area that needs greater attention, you’d choose a physiotherapist.