What Is The Difference Between A Chiropractor And A Physiotherapist?

When dealing with an injury, it can be confusing on who to get help from. Chiropractors and physiotherapists have many similarities but are also distinct in several waysNot sure who to see? Let us help you find the best practitioner for you

Call 604-738-1168

Schedule A Visit

chiropractor and physiotherapist

Restore your body movement patterns and function. Get stronger, improve your coordination and return to activity


Improve your spinal mobility and function. Relieve pain, get your body back in balance and help you heal and recover

difference between chiropractor and physiotherapist

Similarities Between Chiropractic And Physiotherapy

Hands-on or manual treatment

Both healthcare professionals will often use their hands or hand-held tools to perform a treatment. This can be in the form of a joint mobilization, manipulation, manual spinal chiropractic adjustment or an Activator instrument chiropractic adjustment. Sometimes soft tissue therapy or massage techniques may be a part of your course of care.

Exercise rehab

Your treatment care plan will most likely include a number of different exercises to support your treatment. These include different stretches to ease tight and tense muscles and increase your flexibility. Strengthening and core exercises may be included to strengthen your muscles to provide more support and stability. Other exercises may be included to help with balance and coordination, or movements specific to your sport or activity

Treatment of nerve, muscle and joint problems

Both physiotherapists and chiropractors are skilled and trained in treating patients with a variety of physical injuries and problems. These can include headaches, neck pain, whiplash, shoulder or rotator cuff tendonitis, elbow pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic back pain, hip bursitis, knee sprains, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.

Conditions Treated

Both chiropractors and physiotherapists treat many of the same conditions and areas. In essence, you can see either your physiotherapist or your chiropractor for virtually any of your injuries. In general:

difference between physiotherapy and chiropractor


Most patients who visit a chiropractor tend to have

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Upper back or shoulder pain
  • Low back pain

In other words, spinal problems and injuries


Physiotherapists typically see more patients with

  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Wrist or hand
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Ankle and feet injuries
  • Post-surgical recovery

Essentially, arm and leg conditions and injuries

what is the difference between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist

Still Need Help Deciding Who To See?

If you are not sure who the best type of practitioner is for you, we can help. Contact us today and we can help guide you to the right person to help you get your life back. If a different provider is better suited for you, we will recommend the ideal professional to you as well.

Your physiotherapists and chiropractors are here to help you start feeling better, regain control of your life and be able to enjoy what is important to you again

Call 604-738-1168

Contact Us

what is the difference between a physiotherapist vs chiropractor

Other Differences

Chiropractic care

Chiropractors can treat most areas of your body but a large part of your visit maybe focused on your spine and related structures. One of your the goals of your chiropractor may be to improve the mobility and function of your spine. During your chiropractic visit, adjustments will likely be performed on your spine and joints.

The main treatment used is the adjustment. These can be performed either manually by hand or with a handheld instrument or device. Improving how your spine moves and functions can help ease your pain and improve your body’s ability to heal and recover. A visit with your chiropractor may last anywhere from just a few minutes to 15 minutes.

Nervous system
Chiropractors recognize that your nervous system impacts your entire body, from your muscles to your organs, your head to your toes. By improving spinal mechanics, this allows your brain to better control your body, reducing injuries and improving your ability to heal.


Physiotherapists restore movement patterns and correct muscular imbalances or weaknesses to reduce discomfort and improve your ability to move. They treat a variety of problems. They help those with back pain, headaches and other injuries such as ankle and knee injuries.

They provide post-surgical and post-stroke rehabilitation, areas chiropractors seldom treat. Physios use a variety of techniques and treatment methods. This includes manual therapy, modalities, ultrasound and visceral manipulation. A considerable portion of your care will be focused on exercise rehab in order to regain muscle strength, improve your balance and restore your coordination as you gradually return to your activities and sports

A standard physiotherapy is usually scheduled for 30 minutes. Longer sessions are available if your problem is more complex or if you have a number of different injuries. For example, 45 minute and 60 minute sessions are also available. For rehab exercise, appointments are typically up to 60 minutes

Still Have Questions About Who To See?

Finding the right healthcare professional to help you out of pain can be a difficult question sometimes. Just as there are many different types of injuries, there are also many different types of practitioners specializing in different areas of healthcare.

To help answer your questions on who is the best professional to help get your life back, contact us today. We can guide you to the ideal provider and get you on your way to feeling better again

Call 604-738-1168

Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can you do chiropractor and physio at the same time?

A: Absolutely! In fact, for more complex or challenging conditions, combining the two approaches can sometime be much more effective. Especially if your progress has been slower than expected, a multi-disciplinary approach may be a worthwhile option. Both chiropractic care and physiotherapy are great complements to each other.

For example, your chiropractor may focus on and provide more pain relief to help calm your symptoms down. As this happens, your physiotherapist can then work with on rebuilding muscle strength, coordination and balance as your gradually return to your usual activities.

Q: Can a physiotherapist fix back pain?

A: Your physiotherapist is a university-trained healthcare professional who is very capable of helping you with back pain. Back pain can have numerous causes, and your physiotherapist can help you sort through the possibilities and determine which one led to your injury.

Whether you have a muscle strain, facet sprain, sacroiliac problem, sciatica, slipped disc or pinched nerve, your physiotherapist is well versed in diagnosing and treating any of these types of injuries. They will recommend the best course of treatment for you to recover quickly and safely.

Q: What is the difference between physiotherapy and chiropractic?

A: Though both professions share many similarities such as types of injuries treated, there are some slight differences between the two. Physiotherapy treatment tends to include a larger component of exercise rehab and focuses on restoring function and mobility to your body. They also treat a large number patients with leg and arm problems.

Chiropractic care often includes spinal and joint adjustments and their focus is on improving the movement and function of your spine. Chiropractors tend to treat patients with trunk issues such as neck pain, back pain and headache.