Updated: Apr 12
The role of Osteopathy and Physiotherapy
Both Osteopathy and Physiotherapy can play an invaluable leading role in helping people find lasting improvements in how they feel, and how they move. Injuries or complaints relating to the muscles, nerves, and joints, as well some other conditions such as headaches, IBS, and balance difficulties/vertigo, can all be effectively managed in most cases. Osteopaths and Physiotherapists provide comprehensive support: including diagnosis and treatment; as well as broader health support through activity and lifestyle tools. For most complaints, both Osteopaths and Physiotherapist are ideally positioned with the appropriate knowledge and skills to manage a person from onset, to the resolution of their complaint. If the care of another professional is required, they will be able to assist in further referral.
Before we explore the details of these services further, let’s take a look at some of the signs suggesting that someone may benefit from Osteopathy or Physiotherapy.
Signs you May Need to Visit an Osteopath or Physiotherapist
With disuse, abuse, or just bad luck, our bodies rarely make it far in adulthood without an ache, a pain, or a stiffness here or there. Although this can be mild or transient, often times, unfortunately, these complaints don’t simply resolve on their own. This is where Osteopathy and Physiotherapy come in. Below are some of the major reasons people choose to come see us.
If you stub your toe there is no rush to make an Osteopathy appointment. Aching thighs after your first ever leg day in the gym? - no emergency physiotherapy appointment necessary. Pain is common. To an extent it is normal. But persistent pain, or pains that keep recurring or stopping you from doing what you want, are not. Your knees are not supposed to hurt when you walk up the stairs, and having to eat ibuprofen every time your play football is a sign that you might benefit from some expert intervention! Osteopaths and Physiotherapists are experts in finding the sources of pain and coming up with solutions.
Long work hours, sedentary lifetstyles, and overtraining keep Osteopaths in Singapore, and Physiotherapists in Singapore busy every day. Stiffness in joints can develop slowly over time in response to disuse or misuse - but can still have a profound impact on how comfortable you feel in your body. Whether it’s for people struggling with every day activities, or in the gym, Osteopaths and Physiotherapists have many tools for safely improving mobility.
Balance issues - such as difficulty standing on one leg suggests that the muscles, joints, and nervous system are not working harmoniously together. Additionally, loss of balance could indicate an inner ear problem. With vestibular physiotherapy, after careful assessment, balance conditions such as vertigo and dizziness may be alleviated. If the cause of poor balance isn’t directly related to a problem with the vestibular system, exercises to help strengthen and coordinate the muscles and nerves of the body can be effective, and can be taught by your Osteopath or Physiotherapist at Calibrate.
Some sports injuries are unavoidable occurrences - although proper training and recovery can greatly reduce risk! Common sports injuries include sudden injuries such as joints sprains and torn muscles, as well as more slowly developing issues like tendinitis, or pain around the knee cap. The best Osteopaths and Physiotherapist will develop both a preventive strategy with their athletes, as well as, of course, helping their athletes recover after an injury and return to performance. Many athletes find that they return to sport as better athletes compared to pre-injury. An Injury can be an important opportunity to learn about oneself as an athlete, and a perfect way to strengthen weaknesses and develop.
What to Expect Before your First Osteopathy/Physiotherapy Treatment
With a better understanding of which signs and symptoms suggest that treatment could be beneficial, the next step is knowing what you can expect at the very first session. Some people can naturally be a little anxious about making their first appointment if they do not have a clear idea of what to expect. Hopefully the following section can offer a little clarification and assurance.
Before treatment begins your Osteopath or Physiotherapist will talk to you to learn more about your condition. This enables them to come up with an accurate picture of the factors that could be relevant in your complaint, as well as better understand your goals. Questions revolving around past injuries, general health, medication, occupation and hobbies may be part of the consultation, and often these areas are explored in great detail to make sure that the picture is in HD. After this, physical examination allows your Osteopath or Physiotherapist to closer examine both the area of complaint, as well as your body as a whole.
During a physical exam, you will be asked to complete some simple exercises. This will allow your Osteopath or Physiotherapist to get a better idea of the movements that restrict your mobility or cause pain. They may also test your strength, or move your joints with their hands to better locate any areas needing closer attention, test nerve function, and detect any areas of local inflammation., By finding the root cause of an issue and deducing an accurate diagnosis, more effective treatment recommendation and better outcomes can be achieved.
After the physical exam, your Osteopath or Physiotherapist will explain your condition and discuss suitable treatment options. Usually they will then perform treatment, including therapeutic massage, joint mobalisations, and stretching, depending upon your needs. You will probably also be shown a couple of targetted exercises to do on your own time before the next appointment. How each body responds to a particular treatment approach informs any further treatment - the type, or intensity of treatment and prescribed exercise usually evolves with each appointment to make sure you are getting the right stimulus and dose for progression - this is why it’s important to monitor progress and adapt in follow-up appointments. Closely following the advice recommended by your healthcare professional at each session is key to a quick recovery.
What to Wear
For the upper body wearing tank tops or loose tops that can be moved out of the way is ideal, or for a man topless is also okay. With regards to the bottoms, sports shorts are recommended. Such clothing will allow your Osteopath or Physiotherapist to examine and treat the required parts of the body easily without restrictive clothing getting in the way. Of course any religious or modesty concerns can be accommodated for!
A Deep Dive into Osteopathy and Physiotherapy
Now that you have a clearer idea of what an appointment looks like, for those interested, next we delve deeper into the practice of Osteopathy and Physiotherapy, and explore some misconceptions about the practices. We’ll look at what qualities make a good professional; and the common services provided by our Osteopathy and Physiotherapy clinics in Singapore.
Common Misconceptions about Osteopathy and Physiotherapy
Osteopathy is all about Back Cracking’.
While Osteopaths are skilled at joint manipulations - a specific procedure used by Osteopaths that may cause a ‘cracking’ sound as a joint is quickly stretched - Osteopathy goes way beyond this single technique. Osteopaths in Singapore spend years learning the complex anatomy and physiology of the human body - four years in university before graduation - to be able to understand how and where bodies can become dysfunctional, and what can be done about it. Joint manipulation is just one of many tools - including gentle mobalisations, muscle energy techniques, massage, strength and conditioning training, and sleep or nutrition advice, used by the Osteopaths at Calibrate Health. Depending on suitability to you, you may even receive treatment that does not involve any ‘cracking’ at all.
‘Physiotherapists Only Teach Patients to Perform Exercises’
No doubt, Physiotherapists are known for their expertise in prescribing tailored exercise plans. When designing an exercise programme for a patient, Physiotherapists are rigorously trained in areas of exercise rehabilitation to address medical conditions and musculoskeletal injuries. Nevertheless, just like Osteopaths, they are also able to perform a myriad of treatment options apart from exercise therapy. At the end of the day, it all comes down to what your body requires.
‘You can Only Visit an Osteopath or Physiotherapist After a Doctor’s Recommendation’.
Osteopaths and Physiotherapists are trained to be first-line practitioners. This means that even without a doctor’s referral they are qualified to diagnose and treat most conditions relating to muscles and joints. Although in a few cases not all conditions will be within the range of their expertise, your therapist is trained to identify when this may be the case. Patients who might benefit from early Osteopathy or Physiotherapy treatment can visit a practitioner directly, rather than waiting months for referral processes to be completed. At Calibrate, we aim to be the best Osteopaths and Physiotherapists in Singapore and strive to provide the safest, most effective management pain and injuries.
What Makes a Good Osteopath or Physiotherapist
If you are looking for an Osteopath or Physiotherapist in Singapore, it can be helpful to know what traits are advantageous for a therapist or clinic to embody. Beyond being just knowledgeable and s killful, there are certain things that make good Osteopaths, or good Physiotherapists stand out (although being knowledgeable and skillful are also very important!). Here are three attributes we at Calibrate believe we possess that make us exceptional practitioners, and strive to embody ourselves.
Holistic, and Patient-centered approach
Rather than focusing on just the specific body parts causing pain, or even just focusing on muscles and joint alone, your Osteopath or Physiotherapist should work with you to understand and address any wider patterns or dysfunctions - maybe your knee pain is related to ankle stiffness? Maybe your lower back pain is being partially driven by your high stress and poor sleep, or some training errors in the gym. Being able to develop a good treatment regime takes into account key considerations in a patient’s lifestyle that could be a barrier to health. Treating symptoms without understanding the root cause only aids in temporary relief. A holistic and patient-centered approach not only empowers more effective solutions, but allows the patient to feel comfortable and confident in the Osteopath or Physiotherapist's care, knowing that they are being considered as a person, not a mere collection of body parts
Beyond merely having the neccessary training and qualifications that permit access to the profession, professionalism means integrity - having certain standards and ethics that dictate how each Osteopath or Physiotherapist conducts themselves. An Osteopath or Physiotherapist displaying professionalism always places their patients’ needs first, conducts themselves honestly, reliably, and constantly strives to be the most effective therapist possible. The best Osteopaths and the best Physiotherapists are always learning, adding to their skills and updating their assumptions.
For anyone with a career in the healthcare sector, having compassion is a key attribute that many patients value. Seeking health treatment can be a vulnerable experience and patients may feel anxious or nervous. A compassionate Osteopath or Physiotherapist is sensitive and respectful of a patient’s concerns and wishes throughout the therapeutic journey. The bestOsteopaths and Physiotherapists in Singapore will know how to strike a balance between professionalism and compassion - ensuring that their patients are receiving
Common Services Provided
Osteopathy and Physiotherapy are hard to define. There is no single ‘treatment’ called ‘Osteopathy’, or ‘Physiotherapy’. Osteopathy is what an Osteopath does, Physiotherapy is what a Physiotherapist does. These may seem like hollow statements, but the point is that these professions learn how pain and injury works, and how the body can adapt to improve - the tools used to stimulate this change can vary. Most pain and sports injury clinics in Singapore, whether Osteopath led or Physiotherapy led, will provide a range of different services under the title ‘Osteopathy’ or ‘Physiotherapy’. These services should be used together to target the specific needs of each patient and their bodies. Below are just some of the many treatment options Calibrate Health provides.
Without freely moving joints we simply can not move. Everything we do from running, jumping, swimming, to eating, drinking, or playing the piano, requires a staggeringly impressive coordination of a large number of joints. Simply walking uses practically every joint in the body. It’s not hard to see how disruption in the quality or quantity of movement in one or more of these joints can have many consequences for how we move and feel. By using their hands, or applying targeted exercises, Osteopaths and Physiotherapists can help restore normal range of motion to improve function and decrease pain.
Dry needling in Singapore is performed by several different professions, including Physiotherapists, and Osteopaths. It involves the precise application of single-use, thin filiform needles to penetrate the skin, fascia, and muscles to stimulate an adaptive response. This can be to promote healing, stimulate the nervous system, or to alleviate trigger points. Trigger points are areas of muscle tenderness that develop after injury or overuse.
Conditions such as headaches, neck pain, lower back pain or even IBS may benefit from the careful application of Dry Needles. For those with a fear of needles, rest easy as the dry needling technique is mostly painless. In fact, most patients may not even realise when the needle has been inserted. Depending on what exactly is being treated the needles may be left in the body from as little as 30 seconds - up around 10 minutes before being disposed off safely.
Massage involves the skilled application of pressure, using the hands, forearms, or elbow, to muscles, skin, tendons, and ligaments, for therapeutic effect. A quick google search will find many different types of massage in Singapore, including: Sports Massage; Deep Tissue Massager; Traditional Chinese Massage; and Swedish Massager; Trigger Point Therapy; and Active Release Technique. There are many overlaps in the techniques used between these different forms of massage, and rarely have any special or unique characteristics or therapeutic benefits. Osteopaths and Physiotherapists are both highly trained in massage techniques, which can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment package. Massage can be applied to help relax or ‘release’ tight muscles or trigger points; to increase range of motion; decrease pain and swellings; and to calm the nervous system.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can cause pain in the jaw joint and muscles that surround it. There are many factors that may predispose TMJ disorders (TMD) including: genetics, arthritis, jaw injuries, or excess teeth clenching or grinding. Should you experience difficulty chewing, aching pain around your ear, facial pain or clicking sounds when you open your mouth or chew, these may be signs of a TMD. Sometimes TMD can refer pain into the head, the neck, or even cause a ringing in the ear (tinnitus). The TMJ is an often overlooked source of symptoms, with patients often seeking many different professionals for any of the above symptoms without getting clarity or resolution. Calibrate takes a holistic approach to health, meaning that all joints - including the Temporomandibular Joint - are considered as a potential source of a person’s symptoms.
Vestibular Physiotherapy helps alleviate symptoms caused by vestibular disorders. Simple…but what does that mean? Dizziness, poor balance and vertigo are some common examples of disorders of the vestibular system - a special set of organs near the ear that helps the body sense movement and orientation in space - if you were to spin several times on the spot, the dizziness you experience temporarily afterwards is caused by a temporary disruption of the vestibular system. Vestibular Physiotherapy can help patients balance by training the brain to rely more on alternative signals coming from other systems - such as the eyes, and the sensitive position-sensing nerves withing the joints (proprioception). This can be achieved through various exercise strategies including vision stability training, posture training, balance retraining and walking exercises. When it comes to Vestibular Physiotherapy, there is no one size fits all solution, your Osteopath or Physiotherapist will assess and evaluate your condition to recommend a suitable solution for you.
After Treatment Care
What to Expect After your Osteopathy or Physiotherapy Session
After a session, patients usually report feeling good - easier movement, reduced pain, and a general sense of wellbeing. Of course this depends upon the individual’s complaint and treatments provided, as some conditions require time and consistent rehabilitation before positive benefits are experienced. It is not unusual for people to feel a little achy or sore in the 24-48 hours after a treatment - especially for older, or more chronic complaints. This discomfort is similar to the feeling you would have in the days after a particularly hard workout. It is a sign that the body is adjusting and adapting in response to treatment. Recovery from treatment can be maximsed with good nutrition, hydration, and getting enough sleep - all good habits for a healthy life in normal circumstances anyway!
Depending on the strength of your post treatment reaction, your Osteopath or Physiotherapist may suggest the use of heat packs, cold packs, some stretching, exercises, rest, or over-the-counter analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications to support the treatment.
Osteopathy and Physiotherapy are perfectly placed to help patients suffering from a range of complaints - from headaches, back pain, and jaw pain, to sports injuries, joint sprains, and muscle injuries. Calibrate health aims to provide the highest quality service available, with the ethos, and facilities to give patients the best outcomes possible.
Care to find out more? Contact us today for more information or drop us a visit at Orchard where we will be on hand to answer any of your Osteopathy or Physiotherapy queries!