There is so much overlap between both therapies so this article will be answered in general terms.
Both osteopathy and physiotherapy are regulated and protected professions which means that in order for someone to call themselves an Osteopath or a Physiotherapist, they need to have completed and passed the required four or three year degree course respectively and be registered with the professions’ councils.
Physiotherapists usually graduate and work within the NHS with the option of going private, whereas most osteopaths go straight into private practice. There are some osteopaths working within the NHS but only a small number in comparison.
Today in the NHS, physiotherapists are being told to be as “hands off” as possible. This means that physio’s will often not touch you as the patient and not treat you using hands on techniques but instead work with you doing exercises and giving you exercises to do at home.
Private physiotherapists however seem to have more freedom to work how they like so some may work hands on and use more massage, stretching and on occasions joint manipulation.
When people have sports injuries they tend to think of “physio’s” because that’s what people associate with sports. However what many people don’t know is that when you see someone running onto a playing field they are also on occasion osteopaths too.
Many people don’t think that Osteopaths are qualified to deal with sports injuries because they think that osteopaths only deal with bones. However, osteopaths are equally as qualified to deal with sports injuries as physiotherapists. It is true however that most osteopaths are not as qualified as physiotherapists to prescribe exercises as part of a rehab programme.
Osteopaths are generally more experienced than physio’s when it comes to hands on work and palpation skills, treating muscle and joint problems with hands on techniques. Physiotherapists are not known for being able to do joint manipulations although manipulation courses are available to them.
The biggest difference between osteopaths and physiotherapists perhaps is what they are trained to do.
Osteopaths are great when it comes to dealing with people IN pain, whereas Physiotherapists can be specialised in many different fields but their role is usually to rehabilitate people from a surgery, disease or other period of immobility. Physiotherapists can specialise further into different fields such as; sports, cancer, respiritory, elderly, cardio and many more.
Athough this article has touched on some of the differences it may still not be too clear about the difference between the two, therefore as a general rule, if you are in pain, see an osteopath; if you need to be rehabilitated from an injury, illness or surgery then see a physiotherapist.
Here is North Finchley our osteopaths have been involved heavily in sports (whether competing or treating athletes) so they are all comptent in not only treating your injuries but also giving you the exercises needed to help strengthen you up, much like a physio would give you.
If you would like to know more about our osteopaths or about osteopathy, or you would like to make a booking then give us a call today on 0203 356 7060 or email us at email@example.com