Osteopathy, Physiotherapy or Chiropractic for Back Care
Over eighty per cent of people will experience lower back pain at some stage in their life. Knowing which alternative or complementary medicine to choose for your back care is a hard decision to make. It is very personal, and it depends as much on your age, size and on your injury as it does your preference. Some prefer the technique of soft tissue massage rather than spinal manipulation. So what does each one do? What are the benefits? Are there any down sides?
Osteopathy falls under the “alternative and complementary medicine” heading, it involves soft tissue massage as well as muscular and skeletal manipulation to re-adjust or re-align the spine, neck, ligaments and joints or other parts of the body. Osteopaths focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, tissues, circulation and internal organs function as a whole to improve the body’s functions and health overall, or function as a holistic unit. Diagnosing and Treating symptoms and conditions using these holistic techniques is known as Osteopaths Manipulative Medicine (OMM). As osteopathy takes a holistic approach, your “Osteo” may also take a look at other parts of your body as well as the area of discomfort or trouble, including negative lifestyle patterns. They are trained to be looking at the relationship between the structure of the body and the way it functions.
There can be discomfort or a feeling of stiffness after a treatment, other people experience a headache and uncommon but noted patients have experienced tingling.
- An Osteopathic treatment plan can help treat:
- Back Pain
- Foot, ankle, hip and knee pain
- Tennis Elbow
- Digestive Problems
- Postural issues
- Menstrual problems
- Sleep disorders / reduce sleeplessness
- Insomnia resulting from pain or chronic pain
- Sports injuries
Physiotherapy, like Osteopathy and Chiropractic therapy, is holistic, and aims to maintain improved health through movement, manual therapy, increased function, exercise, education, advise and maintenance.
Physiotherapy is most commonly used for early rehabilitation, including after surgery. If you seek out physiotherapy immediately after getting back pain, treatment is usually extremely effective. Your Physio should be able to assess, diagnose and intervene without the use of diagnostic imaging. Physiotherapists use hands on techniques to relieve stiffness, improve mobility and movement of the joints and muscles to your spine. Movement exercises are the next on the list to restore motion and decrease pain.
Most physiotherapists exercises using a protocol called “The McKenzie Method”. Then there are progressive strengthening exercises that focus on core stability and strength, once your symptoms are managed properly. The two most common forms of Physiotherapy include, Passive physical therapy and Active physical therapy. Passive therapy uses such techniques as heat application, ice packs, electrical stimulation and Red Light Therapy. Active Therapy focuses on specific exercises and stretches and aims to give a physical therapy program. Conditions commonly managed by physiotherapy treatment are:
- Back Pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Sports injuriess
- Heart disease
Chiropractic health care is, like osteopathic and physiotherapy, dedicated to non surgical treatment of issues with the nervous and/or musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors, unlike osteopaths and physio’s, maintain their unique focus on spinal manipulation and are principally concerned with the restoration and maintenance.
There are two stages to a treatment, they are: Spinal manipulation / manual manipulation which refers to a high velocity, short lever arm thrust and is commonly known as a “chiropractic adjustment” or “Spinal manipulation”. Mobilization is the second of the type of treatment and refers to low velocity manipulation, movement and stretching of the muscles and joints, with the goal of increasing the range of motion or movement. Downside would be that this type of treatment does not use as much soft tissue massage, so it is more abrasive.
Chiropractic treatment is used for:
- Back & Neck Pain
- Headaches and Migraines
- Disc injuries
- Sports injuries
- Chronic Fatigue
- Pregnancy related issues
So which Specialist to choose?
Firstly, pain comes from a variety of sources, it can be muscular, skeletal or nerve. Each therapist will have a different approach to the specific pain and situation.
There are pluses and minuses for each choice of therapy. Each therapy looks at the body as a whole and uses a plan to treat and rehabilitate which is what you want. How they do that, just comes down to they’re different techniques.
Osteopathy uses soft an is mostly massage, stretches, manual therapy and movement d deep tissue massage as well as spinal manipulation.
Chiropractic therapy concentrates on spinal manipulation.
Physiotherapy is less severe and uses massage, stretching, exercises, muscular therapy and movement techniques.
There you have it, we cannot give you an answer on which therapy or intervention to choose. I personally have used all 3 at some stage or another for different ailments, in different countries at different times.