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Physio Vs Chiro – What’s the difference?

The human body is complex, to say the least. As is such, the various sciences of understanding the human body are equally complex.

Often times, these sciences (professions of these sciences in particular) are lumped in the same sentence. The studies of physiotherapists and chiropractors are two that are often confused; so what’s the difference?

We’ll go into the differences below but be aware that there are also similarities.

What Do Physiotherapists Do?

Physios work in a variety of settings, from hospitals to private practices.

They can assess, diagnose and treat health conditions and movement disorders. This can range from acute care in hospitals, to rehab and chronic disease management. An important aspect of their role is to educate the patient and/or carer about the process.

The overall aim is to improve the patient’s quality of life by using a variety of movements and treatment techniques to alleviate pain and restore function. Exercise is a key component to aiding recovery.

Physio Vs Chiro

Physios typically have an undergraduate degree and may then go on to further study, depending on their area of interest.

What then does a chiropractor do?

What Chiropractors Do?

Chiros focus their healing efforts on the spine.

Chiros target the intimate relationship between the nervous system and the spine. The theory is that once that spine has properly aligned, many symptoms resulting from things such as injuries or poor posture will disappear.

Treatment mainly includes hands-on spinal manipulation and alternative therapy. The belief is that proper alignment of the spine will help the body heal without the need for surgery or medication.

Physio Vs Chiro

Like physios, chiropractors require extensive schooling and may also go on to further study, depending on where their interests lie.

The Difference

Still confused?

Don’t be; just think about it like this:

  • Physios take the whole body into consideration and are trained to do so.
  • Chiropractors focus their healing efforts and chiropractic theory on spinal treatment and alignment, and are also trained to do so.

It’s generally a matter of preference as to whether someone sees a chiro or a physio, both can work well.

Essentially, it depends on what you’re going through and what type of treatment you need.

But there are Similarities

There is an overlap between physios and chiros, which is probably where some confusion arises from. They both:

  • seek to reduce pain
  • use goals to improve functionality for the individual
  • work in partnership with their patients to help them get better
  • educate patients on how to best manage symptoms
  • aim to improve each patient’s quality of life by using a variety of movement techniques to alleviate pain and restore function

There is also a legal requirement in Australia for health professionals to be registered with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency). AHPRA have an online register so you can check that your health professional is there, and have peace of mind that they meet the requirements to practice.

It may be that one works better for you than the other as they both have slightly different approaches. If you ask each profession which one to chose then they will have a natural bias towards their own! In reality, a combination of the two approaches can work quite well.

We hope this has shed some light on the similarities and differences between the two professions.



Trying out different exercises is key to improving and maintaining the body’s flexibility, which in turn can help with recruiting muscles efficiently.

If you’ve got any questions on the above, then please let us know (click for contact details).

Remember – Listen to Your Body!

Please remember to listen to your body. Get any aches and pains checked out sooner rather than later.


As with all information given for exercises and exercise programs, when using our exercise videos or information, please use your common sense and don’t do anything that will hurt you. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. PhysioFit Health will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of information shared on our website or YouTube channel. This includes emails, videos, and text. Thanks for your understanding.

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