If you are injured, feeling some sort of pain or loss of function who should you see? Arguably, a Doctor!
However, if your condition doesn’t constitute a medical emergency, you are better off seeing a manual therapist. Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Osteopaths are all monitored by state regulated governing bodies and are capable of diagnosing musculoskeletal dysfunction from serious medical conditions.
The most obvious differences between the professions are the philosophies behind them. Traditionally Physiotherapists use massage and exercise, Chiropractors have an approach that centres around the spine and Osteopaths, a holistic approach to restoring balance and function to the body. When applied, they all seek health for the patient through differing means.
So, practically speaking, what are the differences between the professions?
This may be a controversial opinion but in practice there is very little difference. All are capable of doing the joint manipulations, that Chiropractors are so famous for. All can prescribe exercises and give remedial stretching that Physiotherapists are famous for. Depending on the practitioner, they may also perform dry needling, ultrasound, take x-rays or use a variety of soft tissue techniques.
We’re getting closer to the truth of the situation now, and that is; You’ll never see two practitioners that are the same.
All will have their relative strengths and different skills, even within the same profession.
Just because Physiotherapy is more widely available on the NHS, does not mean that your local Physiotherapist would be better suited to solving your sports injury than an Osteopath or Chiropractor that has more experience with athletes.
So, what Practitioner should you see? One that looks most like they have the experience to deal with your complaint. Look at their website, read their blogs and their biography page, read the testimonials. If you get the impression that they know what they are doing with regard to your problem, book an appointment!