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Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Or Chiropractic: What’re The Differences?

Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Or Chiropractic: Difference | Orchard Health Clinic


Have you experienced musculoskeletal problems recently but remain unsure whether to consult a physiotherapist, osteopath, or chiropractor in Singapore? We can understand why some might have difficulty distinguishing between these three professions given the similar approaches to treatment.

However, upon closer examination, you will discover several differences in each practice’s guiding principles, approaches, and techniques. Let us share the distinctions between these three professions so that you can make an informed decision on which treatment you require when you are injured or experiencing pain.

1: Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy | Orchard Health Clinic

Physiotherapy emphasises the improvement of body mobility via a multitude of treatments for the musculoskeletal system. Patients with posture issues, muscle pain, sports injuries, or seeking post-surgery rehabilitation may visit a physiotherapist to rehabilitate their injuries and movement disorders. Treatment focuses on reducing or preventing damage, pain, and stiffness while improving one’s general musculoskeletal function.

A physiotherapist will commonly use a combination of various techniques, including manual therapy, physical movement training, and electro-physical agents, to improve joint and soft tissue mobility, relieve pain, and promote healing. They will also recommend different exercises – most of which patients can do at home – to manage and treat prevailing mobility issues.

2. Osteopathy

Osteopathy | Orchard Health Clinic

Osteopaths focus on the relationship between the structure and function of the body rather than just the injured area. Patients may also be asked about their diet, lifestyle, and medical history, including factors that do not appear directly related to their condition. This is because osteopaths work on the premise that posture, injury, or lifestyle patterns compromise structures that can lead to poor health.

By taking a holistic approach to health and addressing factors such as nutrition, exercise, and stress management to improve the function of the musculoskeletal system, osteopaths believe the body can heal itself naturally and achieve optimal health.

Osteopathic treatment can also entail manual techniques to restore structural alignment and improve pain and function. While these treatment methods bear strong similarities with chiropractic, osteopaths place more emphasis on the soft tissues of the body. They will also examine how the skeleton, muscles, joints, nerves, and connective tissues function as a whole in contributing to the patient’s discomfort and seek to address that.

3. Chiropractic

Chiropractic | Orchard Health Clinic

Chiropractors believe that the spine is vital to overall health and that misalignments or subluxations in the spine can cause a range of health problems throughout the body. As a result, treatment focuses on the diagnosis, correction, and prevention of musculoskeletal system disorders through manual adjustment of the spine to improve or correct prevalent health conditions.

This belief is perhaps why some have the misassumption that chiropractors only remedy issues related to the spine. However, that is not true. They can also help treat common musculoskeletal problems like back and neck pain or arthritis. Beyond spinal adjustments, chiropractors may also utilise soft tissue manipulation to restore spinal alignment and improve patients’ overall health. While osteopaths and physiotherapists may also perform manipulation, such methods are often not their first line of treatment like chiropractors.

Learn More: How A Chiropractor Can Help With Your Sciatica

At the end of the day, the decision to visit a physiotherapist, osteopath, or chiropractor boils down to what you can expect as a patient and what type of treatment you prefer. All three professions can treat various musculoskeletal problems and offer a mixture of hands-on treatment and exercise rehabilitation.

However, if you remain unsure which treatment is ideal for you, fret not. At Orchard Health Clinic, we specialise in all three fields. So you can let our specialists assess your condition and recommend the most suitable treatment. Do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule an appointment with our therapists if you experience pain or discomfort.

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