CSA Physio Blog

Chiro VS Physio: The Longstanding Battle

Posted on: July 9th, 2018 by Stephanie Imeson

Patients always ask, which would be better for me: chiropractic or physiotherapy? In my experience, the best answer is usually both!

A chiropractor explaining the area of dysfunction

Chiropractic and physiotherapy are both disciplines of manual therapy. This means that they use their hands to get joints moving, help muscles relax, and improve your overall function and well being.

People don’t often realize how much overlap these two groups have. Both see an area of dysfunction and aim to get it back to normal. Both take into consideration the primary area of concern and all the possible causes. Both have your return to optimal function in mind.

What’s the difference between chiro and physio?

One of the biggest differences between the two therapies is that a chiropractors first approach may be joint manipulation, where a physiotherapist’s may be mobilizations. Otherwise, both have sufficient qualifications in soft tissue therapy, joint mobilization, and rehabilitation. Chiropractic and physiotherapy are both after degree programs that create expertise in treating injuries. By having a strong fundamental education, each discipline has the tools necessary to find the area of dysfunction, return its function, and prevent that issue from recurring.

Together, the two therapies compliment each other extremely well. For example, a chiropractor can get the ball rolling by restoring joint motion, and relaxing soft tissues. Once function has improved, physio builds the strength and endurance to prevent the injury from recurring.  The real beauty of this partnership though, is that their positions are interchangeable!

Personally, I refer to physiotherapists often. I chose not to become certified in acupuncture or use needles in my practice. If I find a patient whom I think could benefit from that therapy, I refer them to one of my trusted physio colleagues. I’ve also received referrals from physiotherapists that do not perform joint manipulation for patients who may require that type of treatment approach.

Before you set your mind on definitely one or the other, consider both. Perhaps it’s not necessarily which is the better therapy, but whom you find as a therapist that best fits your specific needs. Each individual therapist has something different to offer – and you may surprise yourself with what you discover!

Your partner in health,


PS: For more information on Chiropractors in Canada, click HERE

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