• Ultra Sports

Osteopathy vs Physiotherapy. What is the difference?

Updated: Feb 4

Wondering what the difference between Osteopathy and Physiotherapy is? Well you are not alone, so we thought we would give you some clues.


What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a way of detecting, treating and preventing health problems by moving, stretching and massaging a person's muscles and joints. Osteopathy is based on the principle that the wellbeing of an individual depends on their bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue functioning smoothly together.


An osteopathic physician will focus on the joints, muscles, and spine. Treatments aims to positively affect the body's nervous circulatory, and lymphatic systems. Osteopathy takes a holistic, whole-body approach to healthcare.


The key philosophy behind osteopathy is that the body functions as a unit. Osteopathy can provide relief and treatment for a wide range of conditions.


These include:

  • arthritis

  • foot, ankle, hip, and knee pain

  • back pain, neck pain, and sciatica

  • hand, shoulder, and elbow pain

  • headaches

  • tennis and golfer's elbow

  • postural problems due to pregnancy, sports injury, driving or work strain, or digestive issues

  • neuralgia


What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a science-based healthcare profession that promotes recovery in illness, injury or disability. It aims to restore movement and functional ability to the person’s full potential. At the core is the patient’s involvement in their own care, through education, awareness, empowerment and participation in their treatment. Physiotherapy is more aligned with traditional Western medicine.


Musculoskeletal physiotherapists treat problems associated with muscles, bones, nerves, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and joints. More specifically, they can help with:

  • Spinal Problems – Back pain, chronic back pain. Slipped disc, herniated disc and degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis. Sciatica. Neck pain, neck injuries and whiplash. Osteoporosis.

  • Soft Tissue Injuries – Sports injuries. Repetitive strain injury. Knee pain and knee injuries, meniscus tear, hamstring injury, ACL tear, patellar tendonitis. Groin pain, Shoulder pain, rotator cuff pain, bursitis, tendonitis. Wrist pain and carpal tunnel. Sprained ankle, foot pain, plantar fasciitis, shin splints.

  • Rheumatological Problems – Arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), gout, psoriatic arthritis. Fibromyalgia. Joint pain.

  • Rehabilitation – Discectomy, laminectomy, lumbar fusion. Shoulder operations. Knee replacement and hip replacement.

  • Pregnancy – Leg pain and sciatica, sacroiliac joint pain, pubic symphysis pain, lower back pain.


What is the difference between Osteopathy and Physiotherapy?

There are more similarities than differences between the two professions. Both professions have extensive training in anatomy, physiology, pathology and hands on techniques but there are differences with the two professions training.


Physiotherapists in the UK generally train through the NHS and cover rotations in fields of the musculoskeletal, neurological and respiratory health.


Osteopathic training specialises in musculoskeletal health, and they are well versed in the application of spinal and joint manipulation, a core part of their 4-year training.


Both physiotherapists and osteopaths examine, diagnose, form management protocols and treat problems with your joints, bones, soft tissue, muscles and nerves by looking at the function of your body as a whole.


At Ultra Sports Clinic we offer our patients a multi-disciplined approach to their treatment plan. We would recommend that they see both at various times during their road to recovery of been pain free.


Call us on 0203 893 5100 or book online so that one of our expert practitioners can help personalized your treatment plan that suit your specific needs.




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