Chiropractor, Osteopath or Physiotherapist... Who Should You See For Back Pain?
Updated: Aug 25
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 chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists and which one is more suitable for you.
Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the musculoskeletal conditions, 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 sound and attempts to increase range of motion.
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 principle 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.
Physiotherapists help to restore pain-free movement through manual therapy, therapeutic exercises and education. Physiotherapy is a professional career which has many specialties including musculoskeletal, orthopedic, neurology, sports medicine. 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
Up to 80% of people experience back pain at some point in their life, and the great majority of cases improve within 6 weeks. Some patients develop chronic back pain, which is pain lasting for more than 6 months. Chronic back pain is a multifaceted condition. For this reason, treating chronic back pain requires a thorough assessment of the patient symptoms, medical history, lifestyle and beliefs. Manual therapy techniques such as manipulation and soft tissue release can be effective in reducing the pain, while therapeutic exercises help to improve mobility and strength, hence reducing the chances of a relapse. Current research suggests that posterior chain strength exercises are particularly effective in treating chronic back pain.
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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