Osteopathy is an approach to assessing, diagnosing and treating a range of conditions that affect us in everyday life. These conditions can range from acute pain and injury to more complex issues affecting over a longer period of time.
An Osteopath is a degree level trained practitioner focused on providing support for your whole body to recover from pain and injury. This type of support covers a number of different areas that all play a part in the occurrence of pain and dysfunction.
During an Osteopath’s study they learn skills similar to a junior doctor to screen for medical based problems that would require intervention from your GP. Neurological, vascular and respiratory to name a few. They also learn the clinical reasoning, diagnostic and manual treatment skills to resolve pain and injury throughout the body.
In the bigger picture it can be hard to see the differences between the two professions but when you look closely you can see the philosophical and practical differences.
An Osteopath traditionally would use their hands to assess and treat pain through a combination of manual techniques to encourage movement of joints and tissue, improve blood supply and desensitise areas of the body. A physio would assess the body in a similar way with a focus on providing exercises as a primary means of recovery. It’s not this simple but this can be seen a distinguishing factor people would choose one practitioner over the over.
The objectives are essentially the same however there are some differences in thinking that can change the approach of the practitioner. Osteopaths are generalists, some with interests in specific areas. Physiotherapists are specialists, with interests in one or more areas. Both of these approaches have pros and cons and depending the patient and their presentation one approach can be more appropriate than the other.
When you feel pain and injury is stopping your from living your live as you wish. Osteopaths are trained to treat all musculoskeletal injuries from head to toe. They are not just focused on backs and necks.
Osteopaths are primary care practitioners meaning they have the knowledge, skills and experience to work with a patient without the need to see a GP first.
You may also want to see an Osteopath if your experience with another practitioner hasn’t led to the outcome you wanted.