by Dr Jessica Sammut

A lot of people ask me what the difference is between an osteopath, physiotherapist and a chiropractor. This is always a really touchy subject because as an osteopath, I can give you a very in-depth rundown of our core principles, and what I can do for you!
I obviously can’t speak on behalf of a physiotherapist, or a chiropractor BUT below I’ve outlined information on all three modalities.

Osteopaths diagnose and treat injury using non-invasive, manual techniques; orthopaedic and neurological testing, soft tissue manipulation, massage, stretching muscle groups and spinal adjustments. They may also recommend exercises and dietary modifications.


Osteopaths work on the premise that posture, injury, or negative lifestyle patterns compromise the anatomical structure and lead to poor health. As practitioners, they look at the relationship between the structure of the body and the way in functions.
According to Osteopathy Australia, practitioners “focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a holistic unit”.
For example, if you see an osteo for a sore knee, they may also take a look at your ankle, pelvis and back. The practitioner might also ask about your medical history, as well as factors that don’t appear to be directly related to your current injury.


Physiotherapists aim to rehabilitate and improve a person’s ability to move and function, and physios use their expertise in anatomy and physiology to assess and treat people with a range of health conditions. Physios also can work both in private practice and in hospitals, and often work to rehabilitate post-surgical and acute injuries.


A Chiropractors core focus is the diagnosis, correction and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system (spine, pelvis, muscles, ligaments and joints). Chiropractic is nearly always associated with spinal and neck manipulations, but it involves a combination of hands-on care, physical therapy modalities (ultrasounds) and exercise.

In short, it comes down to what works for you. If you love your chiro and they get you, or your physio always seems to give you amazing exercises that gel with you, or you LOVE your osteo because you always feel heard – stick with what works for you and makes you feel great!

Dr. Jessica Sammut
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