1What is the difference between Physiotherapy and Chiropractic?
The difference between the Physiotherapy and Chiropractic professions lies in their philosophical evolution. Chiropractic developed from the premise that all conditions are related to spinal alignment and any misalignment can be corrected via ‘adjustment’ or spinal manipulation. The adjustment was thought to improve neural supply to the relevant structures.
Physiotherapy has evolved from a multi structural approach, addressing predominantly the following systems of the body - skeletal, muscular, neurological, cardiothoracic, and respiratory.
Generally speaking, the nature of a chiropractic consult is shorter and involves joint manipulation. They may however employ other treatment modalities. Chiropractic may require ongoing care for maintenance.
A physiotherapy consultation is generally lengthier and uses multiple treatment modalities such as soft tissue mobilisation, joint mobilisation, manipulation, electrotherapy, acupuncture, and exercise. The emphasis is on rapid measurable results and long term self management strategies.
As both professions have developed in a more evidence based direction, some Chiropractors and Physiotherapists may now practice in a similar manner.
2What is the difference between Physiotherapy and Massage?
Physiotherapists are tertiary qualified Health Professionals with a minimum three and a half year degree in health science. They are equipped to conduct a thorough assessment, request investigations, make a diagnosis and carry out comprehensive treatment using a variety of techniques including massage. The nature of the consultation involves discussing your problem, a thorough physical examination, and hands on treatment +/- other modalities plus self management advice including exercise.
Massage therapists are college or TAFE trained practitioners with expertise in massage techniques. They have some knowledge of the impact of lifestyle on musculoskeletal dysfunction and can prescribe basic exercise such as stretches. Massage therapy involves a brief discussion regarding your presentation and then dedicated massage for the allocated treatment time. It may also involve lifestyle recommendations.
3What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?
Both Pilates and Yoga originated from a therapeutic benefit of improving health and eradicating disease.
Yoga is an ancient practice aimed at uniting mind and body. Typically it involves the adopting of postures or poses (asanas) , focused concentration on body parts and breathing ( pranyama ) to integrate mind and body. Various styles of yoga practice have developed over the years.
Pilates is a relatively modern exercise regime based around contraction of the deep stabilising or core muscles of the spine to promote movement efficiency. The practice is focused on quality of movement execution rather than achieving a posture. Different styles of Pilates practice have also evolved since the traditional form developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. At Shellharbour Health we practice repertory (original Pilates method) and Clinical (evidence based approach).
4What is the difference between Acupuncture and Dry Needling?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of healing based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. From an eastern perspective it involves the application of fine needles at specific points along defined channels (meridians) to restore optimal energy flow throughout the body. For example, a musculoskeletal pain could be considered a congestion of energy that needs to be cleared. Specific points are used to alleviate pain and swelling from the affected area.
Acupuncture is generally applied for a period of 20 to 30 minutes, occasionally with electrical stimulation to optimise results.
Dry needling is defined as the non injection insertion of needles.
Clinically dry needling typically refers to the insertion of acupuncture needles into trigger points in the muscle. Trigger points are knots of taut muscle tissue that when compressed refer pain. The procedure may involve brief manipulation of the fine needle however application is not sustained like acupuncture.
5How does acupuncture work?
From an eastern perspective acupuncture involves the application of fine needles at specific points along defined channels (meridians ) to restore optimal energy flow throughout the body. For example, a musculoskeletal pain could be considered a congestion of energy that needs to be cleared. Specific points are used to alleviate pain and swelling from the affected area.
From a western perspective, research has demonstrated that acupuncture physiologically increases endorphin flow in the tissues – the body’s natural pain relieving chemical. It has also been shown to increase blood flow to areas of the brain and modify pain as a result.
Research is continuing in this area to identify the physiological effects of acupuncture.
6What does ultrasound do?
Ultrasound emits sound waves that penetrate the tissues of the body. The tissues of the body have different impedance or resistance. The sound waves upon entering the body bounce off the tissues and generate heat. When used for tissue repair, it generates heat in the deeper tissue which promotes blood flow to clear inflammation. It is an effective tool for promoting deep blood flow in a localised area.
It also has a micro massage or pulsed application where no heat is generated. This can be combined with anti inflammatory gel to optimise penetration of the drug for superficial injuries. This procedure is called phonophoresis.