It will come as no surprise that this is often the first question people ask when they call us in pain. Who should I see to fix my problem?
In reference to the osteo, physio or chiro debate, it really doesn’t matter statistically all will generally achieve the same outcomes. Yes they will all achieve these in different ways and with different approaches and styles, but for the average case of back pain you could see any of the 3 disciplines. Often choosing between them based upon word of mouth or a specific recommendation is a good starting point or choosing someone who perhaps specialises or has an interest in your specific problem, but any of the 3 will be fine.
Physios, osteos and chiros will all undergo intensive training courses, generally of 4 or 5 years and will complete continued professional development to remain registered professionals. All 3 will have to adhere to strict codes of practice and undertake courses to remain up to date with guidance and practice.
As osteo’s, physios or chiros our training also enables us to make a full assessment of a patient. We complete a background medical review, checking for any areas of concern, before completing our biomechanics and neurology assessments, as deemed appropriate. This enables us to then reach a likely diagnosis for the issue, formulate a plan of treatment and treat or refer as appropriate.
This initial and ongoing training, assessment and subsequent treatment and management plan is generally what will separate us from Massage therapists and is the reason why we always tend to recommend seeing an osteo, physio or chiro as an initial assessment of any painful condition.
In the UK the title Massage Therapist is not protected. This can in essence mean that anyone could call themselves a massage therapist. Courses of training are many and varied and some are now completely online based, without any hands on learning. Some courses can be as short as a couple of days, with minimal anatomy and safety training.
There are also some fantastic Massage courses and indeed some fantastic Massage therapists who do great work and really do change people’s lives, but selecting between therapists can be a challenge, especially when there are also many different styles.
If you have had an initial assessment and the problem is considered to be muscular, or indeed you simply wish to try a massage treatment first and see how you go, we would recommend that you ask a few questions from the therapist about their training and of their experience dealing with your presenting symptoms. No therapist should have any issues answering your questions about this and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to ask.
It is important that a therapist is right for you and your problems, so ask around, see who others have used and don’t be afraid to question them.