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Physiotherapy Vs. Osteopathy – What Is The Difference?

The million-dollar question is; what is the difference between Physiotherapy and local Osteopathy? Which should I see?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? People are often confused with both. Well, because I am both a registered Osteopath and qualified physiotherapist, I believe I am in a better position to answer this question. We are a dual-trained Osteopaths and Physiotherapists; myself (Chris Myers) and my partner Francesco Contiero. We believe that we offer a unique set of treatment and assessment skills. There are those who believe you get the best with both worlds.

Returning to the main topic: a majority of our clients regularly ask us this question, and I will do my best to provide an insight into the difference.

Physiotherapy: - A Physiotherapists works to help people affected by illness, injury, and disability through advice, education, manual therapy, exercise, and movement. They help people of all ages maintain their health, manage pain, and prevent disease.

Osteopathy: - The function of an osteopathist works with the function and structure of the body. Osteopathy is a field that applies the principle that dictates a person’s well-being depends on the wellness of a person’s connective tissues, ligaments, muscles, and skeleton. As such, Osteopath uses physical manipulation, stretching, and massage, with the aim of:

• Enhancing nerve supply
• Enhancing blood supply
• Relieving muscle tension
• Increasing joint mobility
• Helping the body’s own healing mechanisms

Although both professionals help promote, treat, and manage joint and muscle issues; osteopath is the most dominant when it comes to treating spinal problems like neck and lower back pains. On the other hand, an osteopath treats few peripheral joints like the ankle, foot, hand, wrist, and shoulders.

Furthermore, it treats a few fewer muscle and tendon issues related to injuries compared to a physiotherapist. I would guarantee that almost 80% of clinics that use Osteopath list spinal-related injuries as their main service. Likewise, physiotherapist's experience and training expose them to a more varied caseload for peripheral joint issues, spinal issues, tendon injuries, and muscle injuries.

In other words, a physiotherapist sees approximately 50-50 for both spinal and peripheral joint clients. They also cover muscles and tendons. In a nutshell, all treatment and research related to muscle and tendon are led by a physiotherapist. Our physiotherapists at Complete have worked in sports governing agencies and clubs as well. Their expertise and experience in treating recreation and sport’s professionals is unmatched.

After more than 20 years in the field and the experience gained in treating clients, I know I offer the best results, which is something I see regularly. This is why it is highly important to see someone who is well experienced in the field and can deliver based on the condition.


The earliest known documents regarding physiotherapy dates back to 1813 to Per Henrik Ling ‘The Father of Swedish Gymnastic’. The documents show how tissue manipulation, treatment, and exercise were used. Therefore, physiotherapy is a science-based on the best available proof for treating and managing movement and pain.


This is a unique form of treatment that was founded based on the philosophy that all body systems are dependant and interrelated with one another for overall wellness. It is a science-based on the work of Dr Andrew still.

Back in 1874, a doctor by the name of Andrew Taylor Still (on the Missouri frontier) found out that he could put his hands on people and change their physiology.