Chiropractic vs osteopathy vs physiotherapy
We debunk the myths
In contrast to traditional multi-disciplinary practices, we seek to move beyond restrictive professional boundaries when determining your course of treatment – be it with a chiropractor, osteopath, physiotherapist or combination of all three - ensuring you have the best chance of a speedy recovery. This means that your initial assessment is the same no matter which of our practitioners you see. Only after diagnosis will we recommend the most appropriate course of treatment. This removes the question of which therapy is best for your needs until after you have been assessed. Our approach.
What’s the difference between an osteopath and a chiropractor?
In the first place, one goes to chiropractic college while the other goes to osteopathy college. The main difference, however, is in how they are introduced to their particular specialism. Chiropractors and osteopaths spend between four and five years practising treatment methods and techniques, studying anatomy and medical subjects, working through conditions and then developing their clinical reasoning skills and management protocols under supervision. At Agilaflex, their training continues at different levels throughout their careers.
Chiropractors and osteopaths can benefit by working together, as in their training they learn different ways to mobilise and manipulate joints. In many cases the patient may not even notice the differences between the two modes of treatment – which may be why some people insist osteopathy is the only thing that will cure their back pain while others say the same for chiropractic. By the two professionals working together, they are able to spend time discussing each individual case in the light of their own special expertise, which helps them decide which approach may be most beneficial at a particular stage of care.
All three professions examine, diagnose, form management protocols and treat problems with your joints, bones, soft tissue, muscles and nerves by looking at the function of your body as a whole, from the point of view of your presenting complaint.
It is important to understand that neither chiropractic nor osteopathy are simply ‘complementary therapies’; they are formal clinical disciplines, born from the practise of medicine.
What’s the difference between an osteopath and a physiotherapist?
Physiotherapy is very popular within the NHS and is frequently referred to by GPs and hospital doctors and surgeons. Like osteopathy, physiotherapy uses palpation of the soft tissue and muscles to treat and relieve pain and enhance mobility.
Physiotherapists study anatomy and physiology at university before spending a three-year placement on different wards, enabling them to work with cardiac or respiratory patients until they chose their specialism – in the case of Agilaflex this would be musculoskeletal care.
Physiotherapists are trained with an emphasis on exercise-based management which is a vital part of the recovery process. In addition to their formal qualifications, physiotherapists at Agilaflex will have gone on to study additional courses in manual-based mobilisation and manipulation techniques to complement their skills.
Historically, physiotherapists did not often diagnose specific ailments or illnesses (this is usually because their patients have been referred to them by a GP who has pre-diagnosed the problem). For example, if you broke your leg badly you would often be referred to a physiotherapist for treatment.
Until fairly recently, physiotherapy treatment was generally more area-specific than osteopathic treatment. If you were having physiotherapy treatment on your knee, for example, a physiotherapist would mostly work in the area around the knee joint, as well as giving you some specific exercises to do at home to aid muscle recovery.
An osteopath, by contrast, would typically approach your body as a whole. For example, they might want to work around your knee, hip and back and give you advice on how to improve your posture to reduce the strain on your knee.
In modern practice, however, physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors would each take into account all relevant indications of the presenting complaint.
Qualifications and regulatory bodies
Both osteopaths and chiropractors are regulated by law and have to be registered with their regulatory council (such as the general council of chiropractors, GCC). This means you can be confident that you will receive a minimum standard of care and treatment whichever chiropractor or osteopath you choose to visit.
Similarly to osteopathic education and training, chiropractors will have undertaken a four or five year degree (accredited with the general council of chiropractors) before they can become registered with the GCC.
Before they can become registered as a practising physiotherapist, students of physiotherapy have to carry out an accredited three or four year university course, graduating with a BSc Physiotherapy.
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