What Is The Difference Between Physiotherapy and Osteopathy?

Many people ask the question of what is the difference between Physiotherapy and Osteopathy, and which is best for my needs?

Have you ever found yourself wondering what are the specific differences between Physiotherapy and Osteopathy? The following article is going to answer that very question and allow you to make the best decision based upon your specific needs.

While there are a number of similarities between both specialties, there are a number of differences between the two. However, this is what makes it so difficult to decide on which practice is best for your needs.

Physiotherapy is designed to assist people who become ill or disabled through exercise, movement, advice, education, or therapy. They assist people of all ages in an effort to prevent disease and manage pain using techniques like sports massage.

Osteopathy assists with the overall function and structure of the human body. It is based upon the typical well-being of an individual and their muscles, skeleton, ligaments, and how the connective tissues function together. Osteopaths will use a combination of physical manipulation that includes massage and stretching in an effort to:

– Relieve muscle tension

– Increase joint mobility

– Assist the body’s own healing mechanisms

– Enhance the blood and nerve supply

While both professions use the ability of massage and touch to manage a variety of muscle and joint issues, osteopaths will typically treat more spinal issues such as neck and lower back pain.

However, osteopaths typically treat less peripheral joint injuries such as the knee, wrist, and ankle.

Likewise, they treat fewer tendon and muscle injuries as opposed to a physiotherapist. In fact, the vast majority of osteopath’s clients are 80% spine-related issues, unless they specialise in a specific area. A physiotherapist will have training and experience in a wide variety of injuries that involve both spinal and joint as well as muscle and tendon.

Generally, physiotherapists will see an average of 50% spinal and 50% peripheral joint injuries. Physiotherapists lead much of the research and protocols into treatment regarding tendon and muscle problems. A number of physiotherapists will typically work at sports governing boards or sports clubs. They will have a wide variety of expertise and experience in the treatment of professional and recreational muscle and tendon complaints.

It is essential that you choose someone who is going to have the best experience in your specific condition. By doing so, you know you have the best chance at getting optimal results from your physician.

You will want to take the time and do your fair share of research into the therapist you choose before you visit them.


The earliest documented case of physiotherapy can be seen under Per Henrik Ling, who has been dubbed the “Father of Swedish Gymnastics” in 1813 for various soft tissue treatment and exercise.

Physiotherapy is backed by science and is a dynamic profession that is used in the treatment and management of movement and pain.


Whereas osteopathy is a specific form of medical care. Founded on the basis that all of the body systems are related and rely upon one another for the best health. It is based on the work of Dr. Andrew Still.

In 1874, Dr. Still discovered that he was able to place his hands on his patients and be able to change their physiology.