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Osteo, Physio or Chiro – what’s the difference?

If you’re recovering from an injury, experiencing aches and pains, or having trouble with movement and mobility throughout the body, there are several types of practitioners who may be able to help you. Osteopaths, Physiotherapists and Chiropractors all take a slightly different approach to treatment, so it can be difficult to know which one might be right for you.

There has been a noticeable trend towards holistic approaches in healthcare, with a desire for more personalised and patient-centred care, and a growing awareness of the interconnectedness of physical, mental, and emotional health. Osteopathy, a form of manual therapy, has gained popularity for its unique approach to health and well-being with patients that are seeking treatments that go beyond merely addressing symptomatic relief. In this article, we will delve into what osteopaths treat and explore the philosophy that underpins their practice.

Understanding Osteopathy:

Osteopathy was founded in the 19th century as the very first manual therapy. The founder, Andrew Taylor Still was a practicing Physician and licensed MD. Still was unsatisfied with the medical practices of the day and endeavoured to change the mainstream medical approach.

Osteopathic healthcare embraces the interrelationship between the structure of the body and the way it functions. Osteopaths believe that the body has a natural ability to self-heal and self-regulate, and their role is to facilitate this process by restoring balance and harmony within the musculoskeletal system. Osteopaths use your individual medical history and environmental factors to understand the root cause of your pain to develop a personalised plan to help you manage your pain and move better A whole-body philosophy means osteopaths find the root of your pain and discomfort, educate you on your diagnosis and work on finding a solution that works for you.

Why should I see an Osteopath?

While osteopathy is well-known for its effectiveness in managing musculoskeletal issues, its holistic approach emphasises the importance of treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms of the injured or affected part. They look at how your skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulatory system, connective tissue and internal organs function as a whole body unit.

Osteopaths treat a variety of conditions, including:

Back pain: Osteopathy is commonly sought out for the treatment of back pain, including both acute and chronic conditions. Osteopathic techniques aim to reduce pain, improve mobility, and address underlying issues contributing to the pain.

Neck pain: Osteopaths can provide relief for neck pain by addressing muscular tension, joint restrictions, and postural imbalances through manual therapy techniques.

Joint pain and stiffness: Osteopathic treatment can help alleviate pain and stiffness in joints such as the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles by improving joint mobility and function.

Headaches and migraines: Osteopaths may use manual therapy techniques to reduce tension in the muscles of the head, neck, and shoulders, which can help alleviate headache and migraine symptoms.

Sports injuries: Osteopathy is often used as part of the rehabilitation process for sports injuries, helping to restore normal function and mobility to injured tissues and muscles.

Postural problems: Osteopaths assess and address postural imbalances that can contribute to musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction, providing advice on ergonomics, exercises, and lifestyle modifications to improve posture and prevent future problems.

Pregnancy-related discomfort: Osteopathic treatment can help alleviate musculoskeletal pain and discomfort associated with pregnancy, such as low back pain, pelvic pain, and sciatica.

Post-Surgical Rehabilitation: Osteopaths can work alongside the specialist doctors and surgeons to help return the patient to full function and ensure their goals are met.


In addition to hands-on treatment, osteopaths may also provide advice on exercise, posture, ergonomics, nutrition, stress management, and other lifestyle factors that can impact health and well-being. By taking a holistic approach to care, osteopaths consider not only physical factors but also emotional, social, and environmental influences on health, working collaboratively with patients to develop personalised treatment plans that address their individual needs and goals. They empower patients to take an active role in their health and to achieve optimal wellness on all levels.


Osteopaths In Australia:

  • Osteopaths are university-qualified allied health professionals who take the time to listen and treat patients as a whole, not just focusing on one pain point.

  • Osteopaths are trained in anatomy, physiology, pathology, general healthcare diagnosis and osteopathic techniques.

  • Osteopaths are government-registered allied health practitioners.

  • Osteopaths provide ongoing support and educational advice about lifestyle, stress management, diet or other factors that may influence a person’s pain, injury, or movement.



Is Osteopathy right for me?

As osteopathic techniques include a gentle approach, they can be suitable for many people, from the newborn to the older person, and for those with complex medical problems.


If you would like to know more or book in for a session with one of our osteopathy please don't hesitate to get in touch today.


Complete Care Osteopathy Lilydale

Ph: (03) 7036 6525 or

Book Online

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