Osteopaths, physiotherapists, chiropractors
Osteopaths, physiotherapists and chiropractors:
- Are all allied health practitioners
- Are all university qualified
- All treat musculoskeletal pain or injury or movement problems
- May all use manual therapy and prescribe exercise during a consultation
- Will all give you lifestyle advice to stay healthy
- Will all work in collaboration with other health professionals, such as a GP
- All must be registered under the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) to practice
There is naturally overlap and differences between the professions in terms of approach and treatment. Regardless of which health professional you choose to see, they will take a thorough medical history and carry out a physical examination to assess what might be causing your pain, injury or discomfort. If they can’t help you, they will refer you to another appropriate allied health professional or your GP.
You do not need a GP referral to see any of these practitioners. Osteopathy is covered by health insurance and is accessible through a range of funded schemes such as Medicare, DVA or workers compensation schemes.
Why do we think osteopathy is different?
Osteopaths will look at the whole you to diagnose the root cause of your pain by considering your body, the way it moves, the pain or discomfort you feel, any injuries or soreness you may have, and your health and lifestyle to determine its impact on you and your pain. Osteopaths like to take time to listen to you and understand your concerns.
Osteopathic treatment is very individualised and may be varied. Often, osteopaths will treat you with a range of techniques, including manual therapy, massage, stretching, mobilisation, manipulation, dry needling and exercise prescription. Osteopathy is a very hands-on profession.
By focusing on the whole person, an osteopath will treat many parts of your body, not just the part that feels sore. For example, if you go to an osteopath with a sore back, your osteo will often treat the neck, shoulders, back and legs because everything is connected and all of these areas can influence and impact your back pain.
Osteopaths will also talk to you about the activities that may increase your pain and how you feel, and will consider all these factors to develop a treatment plan for you and to help you to understand your role in getting better.