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Chiro, Osteo or Physio... Who Should You See For Back Pain?

Updated: Apr 5


When it comes to back pain, many people are confused about who they should see to get treated since several professions deal with this condition.

In this post, we are going to explore the differences among these professions and which one is more suitable for you.



Chiropractic

Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially of the spine. Spinal manipulation is the most common treatment used in chiropractic care. Spinal manipulation is a passive manual maneuver during which a joint is taken past the normal range of movement. Its defining factor is a dynamic thrust, which is a sudden force that causes an audible release and attempts to increase a joint's range of motion.



Osteopathy

Osteopaths use manual techniques to correct altered biomechanics. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) techniques are most commonly used to treat back pain and other musculoskeletal issues. OMT techniques are not necessarily unique to osteopathic medicine; other disciplines, such as physiotherapy or chiropractic, use similar techniques. One tenet of osteopathy is that problems in the body's anatomy can affect its proper functioning. Essentially osteopaths believe the entire body is interlinked and lesions in one area of your body can affect your overall health.


Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists promote, maintain and restore health through manual therapy, therapeutic exercises and education. Physiotherapy is a professional career which has many specialties including musculoskeletal, orthopedic, neurology, sports medicine and cardiopulmonary. Physiotherapists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private clinics and sports clubs. They are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of serious pathologies that require examinations ( x-ray, MRI, etc.) and they work closely with other medical professions, such as orthopedic Doctors and podiatrist.


The Best Treatment For Back Pain According To Science

It is important to note that back pain is extremely common and up to 80% of people experience back pain at some point in their life. The great majority of back pain cases improve within 6 weeks regardless of the treatment given. Therefore, ruling out serous pathologies, provide treatment to ease the pain and reassuring the patient regarding the favorable prognosis is often the best clinical practice guideline. Some patients develop chronic back pain which is back pain lasting for more than 6 months. Current research shows that chronic back pain is a multifaceted condition since many factors can play a part in it. For this reason, there is no treatment protocol that is effective for every single individual. Treating chronic back pain requires a thorough assessment of the patient symptoms, medical history, lifestyle, thought and beliefs in order to come up with a successful treatment plan.



Conclusion

Chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists are all professions that deal with treating back pain. Traditionally, chiropractors and osteopaths tend to use a more passive approach focused on manual therapy techniques, while physiotherapists also prescribe therapeutic exercises and provide lifestyle education. However, in light of the current research many chiropractors and osteopaths started to adopt a more holistic approach.

To sum it up, these three professions have many similarities and they can all provide effective treatment for back pain.




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