Physiotherapist Cronulla

Physiotherapist Cronulla


Physiotherapist or Osteopath - What's The Difference?

If you've ever asked who else you could see instead of a physiotherapist, you might have had someone suggest to you to see an osteopath because they think osteopaths are better. But why is an osteopath better, and what's the difference?

The short answer is, depending on who you see there may be no difference at all, or they could be worlds apart. What's actually important is the right practitioner for you, not the piece of paper on the wall stating 'Physiotherapist' or 'Osteopath'

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If That Makes You Even More Confused, Then Read On...

There were much bigger differences between Physiotherapists and Osteos 150 years ago or so. Back then medical doctors used leeches to suck out infections, heroin to treat coughing children and mercury to treat pretty much anything. Boy have we come a long way since then!


When Were The First Physiotherapists Registered?

The first record of the first Physiotherapist dates back to the 1813 in Sweden, where Per Henrik Ling, also known as 'The Father of Swedish Gymnastics', founded the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics for massage, manipulation & exercise.  

Interestingly enough, The Swedish word for physiotherapist (physical therapist) is “sjukgymnast” = “sick-gymnast!” 

In 1887, physiotherapists (physical therapists) were given official registration by Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare. Soon after, in 1894 they were given registration in Britain and other countries soon followed. It was 1906 when the first physiotherapists began practicing in Australia.


Where And When Did The First Osteopaths Come About?

In the 1880's, Dr. A.T Still, a medical doctor went in search of less harmful or toxic ways to cure illness and disease - for good reason! His initial hypothesis was that all diseases arise form the bone (osteum) and he used a variance of non invasive or dangerous, hand on techniques. As such, the term 'Osteopath' was born.

Dr. Still founded the first School of Osteopathy in 1892 in Kirksville, Missouri.

Dr. Still's philosophy was all about prevention rather than cure and his thought process focused on these four principals, now known as the '4 Osteopathic Principals'

  1. Osteopaths consider the body to be a single unit, comprised of many systems, but where no parts operate independently of each other
  2. Structure & function are reciprocally interrelated
  3. The body is a self healing & regulating organism
  4. Osteopathic treatment should pay respect to the previous 3 principles

The great thing about these Osteopathic principals is that they're timeless - as much as new evidence comes out proving & disproving various things, new evidence can always be worked in to these principals. We now know that not every ailment comes from the bone, however the name osteopath, or osteo, still sticks.

You Can Either Book Online or Call our Clinic on 9527 3322 for a Free 10 Minute Injury Consult Or To Book With An Osteopath or Physiotherapist In Cronulla.


Physiotherapists and Osteopaths In Modern Times

The beauty of research is that allows these professions to advance, scrapping away what doesn't work & embracing what does. Now in 2016 the differences between Physiotherapy and Osteopathy are much smaller. The ability to learn new research and ideas through the internet has created a medical world where Ideas are spread widely and fast, and as such many practitioners are borrowing each other's 'techniques' and forgetting about the 'traditions' of their chosen profession.

However there are still differences between the two.

Keeping in mind, individual therapists will see and treat things differently. 2 physiotherapists can be completely different, as can two osteopaths. Meanwhile a different Physio and Osteo may be almost identical. As a generalisation these are the main differences between the two and may help you decide whether you should see a Physiotherapist or Osteopath.


11 Key Comparisons Between a Physiotherapist and an Osteopath

  Osteopath Physiotherapist


Minimum 5 years university including a 3 year bachelor and 2 year masters. Can legally use the 'Dr' title.

Minimum 4 years University. 2 year Masters available for those who've completed an alternate bachelor degree. Cannot use the 'Dr.' title without extra training.


Trained to do prescribe exercise but more focused on the treatment in clinic. Exercises can be done at home in patients own time.

More exercise and rehab based, many do in house Pilates.

Joint Cracking

Trained to do it everywhere on the body, with much more time spent on it that Physiotherapists however used only when patient is comfortable with it and it's necessary.

Trained to do it everywhere except the neck, but most physios shy away from it.


Rarely used. In most cases, such as lower back pain evidence shows it's useless. Osteos prefer hands on techniques.

Widely used for all areas. Allows physios to treat multiple patients at a time.

Visceral/Cranial Treatment

Taught at university, some osteopaths use a lot of, some minimally.

Not used unless post graduate course.


Widely used.

Widely used


Widely used for some osteopaths, others prefer to focus on other techniques.

Widely used but tends to focus more on painful trigger point release rather than massaging.

Dry Needling

Same as a Physiotherapist.

Can only do if post graduate course completed. Depends on the practitioner.


Moderately used. Prefers Kinesio taping rather than rigid taping to allow full range of motion at the joint.

Widely used rigid and Kinesio taping.

Post Operative

Taught at University, but as not placed in the public healthcare system, and due to a lack of knowledge of osteopathy amongst Doctors and Surgeons it's not as common as in physiotherapy.

Widely used, due to physiotherapists place in the public health care system

Health Funds, Workcover, CTP Insurance & Medicare

Exactly the same status as Physiotherapy with exactly the same rebates. Usually covered in a different section of private health funds so you can claim on Osteo after your Physiotherapy limit is reached.

Fully covered for all private health funds, government rebates and insurances.


One More Reason To See An Osteopath Instead of a Physiotherapist in Cronulla

Your private health fund gives you a limit of how much you can claim on Physiotherapy as well as Osteopathy. In most cases, these limits are separate which means that if you've already maxed out your Physio claims, you still have hundreds of dollars you can claim with Osteopathy.


Our Osteopaths At Biomechanics Healthcare In Cronulla

Dr Rhys Donovan Physiotherapist Cronulla Dr Dan Garner Physiotherapist Cronulla Dr Rick Hartley Physiotherapist Cronulla
Dr Rhys Donovan Dr Dan Garner Dr Rick Hartley


Book Online or Call our Clinic on 9527 3322 for a Free 10 Minute Osteopath Assessment Instead of Your Usual Choice of a Physiotherapist In Cronulla.

Looking for a Physiotherapist In Cronulla?

Consider seeing an osteopath for a more holistic and thorough approach to your condition. 

Contact us today for a free 10 minute consultation to see how we can help.

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