Manual manipulation therapies like osteopathy massage and chiropractic massage are popular for relieving musculoskeletal pain. There are also general therapeutic massages that can help with this type of pain. While they all involve massage, it's important to understand the differences between them to determine which is most appropriate for you. Common conditions that are appropriate for these therapy styles include lower back pain, neck pain, and arthritis.
Osteopathy is similar to remedial massage and aims to improve overall health by manipulating muscles and joints. An osteopath will use special tools and equipment to identify any underlying skeletal conditions that may be causing pain, particularly in the lower back. After an initial diagnosis, they will recommend a plan of remedial manual therapy treatments, which may include osteopathy massage techniques. These techniques involve stretching, rotation, and massaging to improve flexibility and reduce tension in muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Chiropractic therapy focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal issues by using their hands to manipulate and maneuver joints, bones, and muscles back into alignment. Chiropractors use force to specific points on the body to align joints or muscles along the spine, which may cause a popping sound - commonly referred to as 'cracking your back'. They also use relaxed techniques such as massage or stretching. Chiropractic therapy is effective in treating not only lower back pain but also other joint conditions.
Massage therapy is a common practice within both chiropractic and osteopathy, as well as for general relaxation. There are numerous types of therapeutic massages, such as sports massage and physio-style massage, which are closely linked to chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments. It's important to choose a qualified practitioner, regardless of the type of massage.
Comparing manual manipulation therapies such as osteopathy, chiropractic, therapeutic massage, and physiotherapy can be challenging, as each has unique characteristics and techniques. However, there is significant overlap and many similarities between them, including the use of massage therapy.
In the UK, depending on the type of treatment you choose, the practitioner may need to be independently registered, such as osteopaths and chiropractors, or they may be free to perform treatments without any formal training or qualifications, like some massage therapists. When selecting a therapeutic massage therapist in London, it's crucial to choose one who has been extensively tested, experienced, and accepted as qualified for the treatment they provide.
A combination of therapies may be the best approach for optimal recovery and prevention of future issues. This may include regular massage treatments in conjunction with a recovery plan developed by a regulated professional such as an osteopath or chiropractor. It's important to choose a qualified and experienced practitioner, regardless of the treatment style, and one that you are comfortable with the cost of.
The most important thing is to find a treatment plan that works for you and your personal needs, whether that be through a single form of therapy or a combination of approaches.