Should you see a chiropractor or a physiotherapist? If you’ve experienced chronic or acute pain at some point, the chiropractic vs physio debate may have crossed your mind. And it’s understandable because the two professions seem to have a lot in common: they both practice non-invasive, manual therapies that are drug-free. But, it turns out, that’s probably as far as the similarities go.


What does a physiotherapist do?

A physiotherapist is typically focused on diagnosing, managing, and preventing movement disorders. The primary objective of physiotherapy is to provide rehabilitation and mobility improvement to patients.

Physios work extensively with sports injuries but they do also assist babies, people recovering from illnesses and trauma and people with degenerative diseases.

Physiotherapists do their work using a combination of therapies that may include manual therapy, physical agents, and physical movement training.


What does a chiropractor do?

A chiropractor is typically most focused on diagnosing, correcting and preventing disorders that occur in your musculoskeletal system. Your musculoskeletal system consists of your muscles, joints, ligaments, spine, and pelvis.

Chiropractic is very much targeted towards the adjustment of the spine and neck through manual chiropractic techniques but it does also include exercise, physical therapy, and hands-on treatment.


A chiropractor will help you to improve your posture and restore balance to your body. When your posture is imbalanced and your body is not well-supported, injuries and strains are more likely to occur.

Chiropractic techniques provide relief for a range of ailments including sports injuries, back problems, lower back pain, headaches, and migraines.


What’s the difference between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist?

Both occupations provide treatment for musculoskeletal and joint problems and aim to improve your strength and mobility. They also strive to relieve pain and restore you to a fully functional self.

How they achieve this is where they differ.

A physiotherapist will use mobilisation techniques while a chiropractor will use manipulation.

Chiropractors are very hands-on therapists who manually adjust your spine. joints, limbs to improve your mobility. These chiropractic techniques are very targeted and specific and aim to rehabilitate normal body motion and posture.

Physiotherapists use a range of massage therapies, exercise and electrical therapies to achieve this goal.


So, which practitioner should you consult?

If you have any musculoskeletal pain, this is a tricky question to answer but a chiropractor would provide you with a holistic approach and focus on your spine and nervous system. Chiropractors consider the body as a system, while physios tend to focus on one area at a time to provide rehabilitation.

Both practitioners would be able to provide you with some pain management strategies to alleviate your discomfort. If you are in pain, the important thing is to see someone. In the event that you do need a physiotherapist, your chiropractor will make the necessary referral on your behalf.

If you still have questions about the difference between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist, your next step should be to speak to a professional. Contact our friendly team to speak to a professional: (02) 9546 6033.