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  • Writer's pictureDr Daniel Mogoai

Osteopathy and Physiotherapy: What’s the Difference Between the Two and How it Can Help You

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

Osteopathy and Physiotherapy are forms of manual therapy that have different philosophies for how to help patients recover from pain, injury, and discomfort.

There are many similarities; however, one of the largest differences is that they are regulated by different organisations. Osteopaths are registered with Osteopathy Australia, and Physiotherapists are registered with the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

Book your Osteopathy appointment today for treatment.

This blog includes the following:

  • What are the Key Differences Between an Osteopath and Physiotherapist?

  • Should I See a Physiotherapist or Osteopath for Treatment?

  • What you Can Expect During an Osteopathy or Physiotherapy Appointment

  • Are Osteopaths and Physiotherapists covered by Health Insurance?

What are the Key Differences Between an Osteopath and Physiotherapist?

At 'One Motion Athletic' our Osteopaths are focused on treating patients by looking at the musculoskeletal system and the body's healing ability. By following the core Osteopathic philosophy, we look to encompass the person’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being, taking a holistic outlook on their health.

Our Osteopaths also use various techniques such as manual therapy, stretching, and massage to manipulate the muscles and joints, improve blood flow, and promote healing.

Need treatment? Book here with our Osteopath.. You can also expect our Osteopath to consider your lifestyle and environment, to understand internal and external factors that may impact the recovery process. By carrying out this perspective, we are able to address the root cause of your condition rather than focusing purely on the symptoms.

On the other hand, a Physiotherapist will treat patients by using various physical methods to help improve their movement and function, manage their pain, and prevent future injury or disability. A Physiotherapist will assess the patient's condition, create a treatment plan, and work with the patient to carry out the plan. Treatment may include exercises to improve strength and flexibility, manual therapy techniques such as massage and joint mobilisation, heat or cold therapy, electrical stimulation, and proper posture and body mechanics education.

Physiotherapy aims to help patients achieve optimal physical function and improve their quality of life.

A title image of Osteopathy versus Physiotherapy
Exploring the differences between osteopathy and physiotherapy for optimal wellness.

Should I See a Physiotherapist or Osteopath for Treatment?

Knowing which type of manual therapist is best for your condition can vary based on the specific nature of your condition and your personal preferences. In our opinion it's only fitting that we recommend seeing an Osteopath, as your pain may require a more in depth look into your overall health, family history and previous medical conditions.

Osteopaths focus more on the body's overall health, taking in consideration all the body's systems, which include your digestive, lymphatic, cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems. For treatment, they use hands-on techniques such as soft tissue massage, articulation, muscle energy technique, counter strain and manipulation (aka HVLA) to reduce pain and improve range of motion.

Get pain relief with our Osteopath! Book here for appointments..

In contrast, physiotherapists primarily focus on the musculoskeletal system. A Physiotherapist is likely to use hands-on therapy such as soft tissue massage, patient education and exercise-based treatments to assist rehabilitation of injuries.

Ultimately, choosing between an osteopath and a Physiotherapist may depend on your preferences and the specific approach that you believe will be most effective for your condition. It's also a good idea to consult with both types of practitioners and determine which one you feel most comfortable working with and trust to provide the best care for your specific needs.

What you Can Expect During an Osteopathy or Physiotherapy Appointment

Once you've book an Osteopathy appointment with One Motion Athletic, you can expect your Osteopath to take you through a complete physical examination, paying special attention to areas of pain or discomfort. They will ask you how the pain came about, how intense the pain is for you and how it impacts your daily life.

Following the Osteopathic examination, you will receive Osteopathic treatment in the form of various manual techniques, such as massage, mobilisation, and manipulation of your restricted joints and muscles to reduce your pain and improve your range of motion. Book your Osteo assessment easy online..

After treatment, you can expect our Osteopath to explain how long it will take you to recover from the injury or pain felt, what exercises you can complete to improve range of motion and strengthen weak muscles and what beneficial lifestyle changes can be made such as nutrition, alcohol and sleep to improve your condition.

During a Physiotherapy session, the Physiotherapist will also complete a physical assessment of your condition, however, questions regarding your general health and medical history are likely to be different from an Osteopath. Where an Osteopath may ask about your energy levels, digestion, and ability to use the toilet, a Physiotherapist may not and place more attention on muscles that are weak or overly tight.

Physiotherapists also use many techniques to assist rehabilitation, including exercises, manual therapy, and equipment, such as ultrasound machines or electrical stimulation devices. These techniques are to help improve your mobility, strength, and flexibility.

Similar to an Osteopath, the physiotherapist will also provide information regarding the length of your recovery, how to prevent further injury, management strategies, and behavioural changes to assist with improving h your condition.

An image of Osteopath's clinic
A sample image of clinic of an Osteopath

Are Osteopaths and Physiotherapists covered by Health Insurance?

In Australia, health insurance providers such as BUPA and HIF cover will cover a portion of osteopathic or physiotherapy treatments. Please keep in mind this will depend on the cover you’ve selected with your health insurance provider.

At One Motion Athletic our Osteopath will provide you with a provider number so that you can claim back a portion of your consultation if you're covered for our services.

You can make a booking here to see our Osteopath.

An image of One Motion's Osteopath, Dr. Daniel Mogoai
Don't let stress and tension affect your quality of life. Book an appointment with our skilled Osteopath and experience the benefits of Osteopathy for yourself.

It's essential to check with your insurance provider or healthcare system to see what coverage is available for these treatments. Additionally, some Osteopaths or Physiotherapists may be partnered with insurance companies, making it easier to claim back the treatment costs.

However, there may be limits to the number of sessions covered or specific requirements that need to be met to qualify for coverage.

Patients of Osteopathic and Physiotherapy in Australia can also access rebates under the Medicare - Chronic Disease Management (CDM) program. Patient’s can receive up to five sessions with their chosen allied health service through a referral from their General Practitioner on the Medicare CDM program.

In order to receive a referral form you will need the provider number of your Osteopath prior. It’s important to note that the five sessions last an entire calendar year and are renewed once the calendar year expires. Want to see our Osteopath on Medicare CDM program? Get in touch today.

Your GP will diagnose your condition and create a care plan that can be shared with your Osteopath or Physiotherapist to aid in the management of your condition.

If you’re still unsure whether an Osteopath or Physiotherapist is more suitable to manage your condition, please get in touch here, so our Osteopath has a better understanding of your complaint.

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