Active Therapies, Women's Health

Physiotherapy and Osteopathy: What’s the difference?

Should I see a Physiotherapist or an Osteopath?

Many of our patients have not seen either a Physiotherapist or an Osteopath before and are not sure if they could, or should, see a particular practitioner for their condition.

In simple terms, both Physiotherapists and Osteopaths are AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority) registered Allied Health professionals with the same standing both medically and legally. Both professions can assess, diagnose, and treat the same conditions. If you are seeking help with a muscle, joint or nerve problem, then you can choose to consult with either a Physiotherapist or an Osteopath. Both have the training and skills to assist you with these conditions.

Both professions now require a University degree (either a double degree or a masters), and both professions are recognised by Medicare, Workcover NSW, Health Funds and the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA).

The main difference between a Physiotherapist and an Osteopath is in the philosophy of each profession.

However, there can also be fundamental differences in the approach taken to treatment – but these differences are often mainly due to the training and the preferences of the individual practitioner.

At Active Therapies, we take a collaborative team approach to the management of our patients. Sometimes that will mean more than one practitioner being involved in your care plan, due to either the needs of your condition or the availability of specific practitioners.

However, it is always the patient’s decision to see the practitioner of their choice.

You do not need a referral from a medical practitioner to have an appointment with a Physiotherapist or an Osteopath, unless you are seeking treatment under Workcover or DVA.

Private health insurance funds provide varying levels of cover for Physiotherapy and/or Osteopathy, depending on the plan chosen.

Lucy Forbes, Tanya O’Sullivan and Maria Olegario are Physiotherapists, and Andrew Forbes  and Rachel Mahoney are Osteopaths. To chat about who to see, contact our friendly practice management team today.