Working out who is best suited to tackle your rehab can be difficult
Written by Adam Joffe, Physiotherapist at The Joint Physio
At the Joint, we are often asked about the differences between a physiotherapist, osteopath and chiropractor, and who is best suited to treat certain conditions. All three health professions undertake a minimum of 3 years university training and also require registration with AHPRA. While their philosophies differ slightly – chiropractors focus more on the spine & nervous system, physiotherapists are more widely specialised from neurological, cardio-respiratory to sports injuries, while osteopaths tend to take a more holistic approach also involving internal organs in their assessment – a well-respected and highly regarded health practitioner in any of these professions are all well suited to assess your pain or injury.
In order to determine the right practitioner for you, it is important to ensure that the health professional has a good reputation through reliable word of mouth, rather than their own marketing. They should keep up to date and practice the latest evidenced-based findings combined with their own clinical gems, as well as being honest, open and willing to educate you about your condition and involving you in the development of a treatment plan.
Clinicians generally do not require immediate referral for medical imaging, which can often produce ‘false-negatives’. So any therapist who suggests you require imaging on your first couple of appointments (unless you’ve suffered a traumatic event), may not be practicing with the latest evidence-based knowledge.
It is also essential that your therapist investigates the cause of your pain and not just treats the symptoms. Some treatment, including just electrotherapy, massage and/or spinal manipulation is really only aimed at relieving your pain now but will not solve your issues long-term.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, your therapist’s goal should be to arm you with the knowledge and skills to recover from your injury and significantly reduce the risk of re-injury. Consequently, you should have an end-date planned for your treatment and even though it may change throughout the course of recovery, this should be established early. Unless you have a known degenerative disease or have to participate in activities that do not allow adequate recovery, you DO NOT need ‘maintenance’.
The Joint Physiotherapy are highly skilled therapists who practice all of the principles discussed above. So if your symptoms are not settling, your injury is recurring or you’re just returning to treatment because your therapist said you must, please give us a call on (03) 9528 2233.