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Osteopath, Chiropractor or Physiotherapy in Watford

Which Profession is Best For You

Osteopath, Chiropractor and Physiotherapy can all appear similar in relieving low back pain, neck pain and sports injuries but there are some subtle differences in treatment options and approaches.

Osteopath treatment is usually holistic, meaning they try to look at the whole body or area and improve the function by reducing stiffness, improving flexibility and therefore reducing pain. The treatment involves a lot of hands on approaches such as manipulations, massage and stretching techniques. This usually involves regular sessions to improve the dysfunctions but should also include a home exercise programme.

Chiropractors main treatment belief is that the spine is one of the main causes of muscular and joint pain in the body. The primary treatment is usually manipulation, "adjustment", "realignments" of the spine. This is commonly known as your "cracking" or "clicking".

These treatments can be carried out by an osteopath and also some physiotherapists but we do not use manipulations at this clinic as we believe other treatments are more effective long term.

Chiropractor treatment often feels good initially but long term effects are strongly debated in evidence and is thought to be short term pain relief, particularly when a home exercise programme or other self management techniques are not included as part of the treatment.

Physiotherapy has the main belief that movement patterns, or lack of movement and posture in some cases is causing the dysfunction. As a result exercise whether strength, stretching and similar approaches are the primary treatment which we believe will resolve musculoskeletal (muscle, joint, bone, ligament/tendon) pain and injury.

Physiotherapists at Watford Physiotherapy also use massage, acupuncture and mobilisations as hands on treatments but these are complimentary treatments to speed up recovery, reduce pain and supplement exercise therapy as the main treatment approach.

The key difference between the three professions is the treatment focus where physiotherapy is primarily self management and empowerment to take control of your own injury with the appropriate advice and guidance from a qualified professional.

Osteopathic treatment and especially chiropractors can require regular treatments, often more frequent and therefore cost ineffective, take longer to rehabilitate and require longer term management as opposed to having a home programme that should be prevent future reoccurrences.

Importantly, physiotherapists are specialists in injuries from the neck down and are particularly well known for treating low back pain, neck pain, shoulders, knees and sports injuries of all kinds.

There is a lot of overlap in approaches but osteopaths tend to specialise in spinal and thoracic problems and chiropractors almost exclusively treat the back or spine.

If you have any questions about treatment or booking enquiries, please book online or contact us below: