What is the difference between a Chiropractor, Physio Therapist and Osteopath?
Doctors of Chiropractic are primary practitioners who place an emphasis on diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health. The neuromusculoskeletal is the interaction between nerves, muscles and the skeleton. An improved nerve system means that the body becomes better equipped to heal effectively.
You do not need a referral from a GP (doctor) as chiropractors are fully trained to diagnose and treat all mechanical disorders (pain with movement of the body). Chiropractors are also fully trained to recognise organic disorders like cancer, infections, digestive disorders, respiratory issues, and various other organic conditions and can then refer you to the appropriate practitioner for these findings. For these reasons, in 2009 the "Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009" was placed to acknowledge Chiropractors as doctors of mechanical medicine.
Chiropractors are required to do 5 years of university training to become government registered health professionals in Australia.
Physio Therapists are secondary practitioners who focus more on the local area of an injury following a diagnosis from a GP (doctor). For instance, they may stabilise an injury with tape, reduce pain with ice and ultrasound and assist rehabilitation with appropriate exercise regimes and soft tissue therapies. Physiotherapists are required to do 4 years of university training.
There are many similarities between osteopathy and chiropractic, however osteopaths tend to work a little differently. For instance, their emphasis is typically more on muscles, joints and the circulatory system than on the nervous system.