Finally! We Explain The Difference Between Physio, Osteo and Chiro

It's a question as old as time itself. And absolutely no one knows the answer.

What the f*** is the difference between a physiotherapist, an osteo and a chiropractor?

No one knows.

No one.

And no one has ever known.

Until now. Here we present to you the definitive guide to what they do -- and which one you need --  so that you and your sore bits will be all over it.

So let's start simply.  What is the difference between a physiotherapist and a chiropractor?

Well, it isn't simple, actually. Grab a chair.

Both chiropractors and physiotherapists treat joints and musculo-skeletal problems to increase movement and strength, relieve pain and help return you to full function.

But the main difference between the two is that a chiropractor traditionally uses manipulation of the spine and limbs, whereas a physiotherapists will more commonly use mobilisation techniques and rehabilitation exercises.

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Chiropractors use their hands to adjust the joints of your spine and limbs where movement may be restricted. Treatment aims to make you move better and more freely (including that "cracking" we're talking about...*) .

*Look away now if you're queasy.

A physiotherapist will also treat you using a range of electrical therapies and exercises to heal and restore movement -- basically they use hands-on techniques for mobilisation of joints, or massage for release of tight muscle or connective tissue problems,  and you'll often be sent home with a bunch of exercises to do.

So which one is best for you?

If your back or joints feel locked, stiff, and sore or maybe haven’t responded to other treatments, then a consultation with a chiropractor is recommended.

Soft tissue problems are more commonly treated by physiotherapists as well as joint and muscular problems which are restricting movement and causing pain.

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Okay so next problem -- what the heck is an osteo and why are they different?

And why do we need them if we have physios and chiros?

It's just so confusing.

Well. According to osteopath Georgia Ellis, "While all three are manual therapists who can suggest exercise and lifestyle modifications as treatment, the main point of difference when it comes to osteopathy is a "big picture" approach, where the entire body's function is taken into account."

Uh huh.

And what do they do? Osteopaths use a variety of techniques that are either direct (manipulation, soft tissue) or indirect (functional) to assist in recover.

So they're kind of a combination of both, with some added extras.

"Osteopaths use techniques to influence joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organ’s function, so osteopaths try to have an all-encompassing “big picture” approach to diagnosis and management," continued Georgia." Each person, condition and injury is unique, so osteopathic treatments will always vary from person to person."

So now you know. Use that knowledge wisely.

Feature Image: Getty