The Differences between a Physio, Chiro and Osteo


The Differences between a Physio, Chiro and Osteo

It’s a common misconception that physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths have the same job. While they treat similar conditions and there can be crossover in care, each specialty has different approaches. This week’s blog explores the differences between physios, chiros and osteos, to ensure that everyone in need of treatment finds the health practitioner most suited to the job.

It is always recommended that you get the opinion of your GP for any serious injuries or conditions, but this blog should give you an idea of which health practitioner would be most suitable for a given case.


Chiropractors (that’s us!) specialise in mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system. This involves three main phases; diagnosis, prevention and treatment. We aim to find the effects of musculoskeletal problems on the nervous system and general health. Chiropractors treat joints, ligaments, tendons and other structures, often located around the spine, but not always. We aim to reduce pain, restore joint function, improve posture and realign the spine.

Chiropractors are equipped to treat a range of conditions. Chronic back and neck pain is one of the most common problems brought to chiropractors, however, we also treat other musculoskeletal ailments such as arthritis. You can also see us about headaches, digestive issues, posture-related problems and other aches and pains in your joints and muscles. Whatever issue you may have, you can trust we’re here to find a holistic solution that best suited to your body.


A physiotherapist’s job is to restore the body’s mobility and function after you’ve been affected by injury, illness or disability. Physiotherapists use x-rays and other scans, and at-home movements to induce recovery. They treat a range of injuries and disabilities so their clients can continue to live and function as independently as possible. Physiotherapy can involve a range of different treatment types, including therapeutic exercise, massage, electrotherapy, and hydrotherapy.

People who have recently undergone surgery or struggle with a physical disability are recommended to see a physiotherapist. The Australian Physiotherapy Association has a basic guideline on which conditions require physiotherapy. The association says that they may be able to help with pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, recovery after an injury or operation, neurological disorders, supporting the ageing process, developmental delays in children and occupational safety issues in your workplace.


Unlike chiropractors and physiotherapists, osteopaths don’t just focus on the problem area. Osteopathy centres around the idea that when one part of the body is restricted, the rest of the body must adapt to compensate. An osteo may look at how your skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulatory system, connective tissue and internal organs function as a whole unit, rather than individually. Osteopaths aim to release areas of restriction through the use of stretches, myofascial release, articulation and joint mobilisation.

Osteopaths often use a gentler massage technique for their clients. You may want to see an osteopath if you suffer from sporting injuries, digestive issues, arthritis, neuralgia, and would prefer a gentler treatment plan.

Hopefully, you now have some insight into which health practitioner would be most suited to you and clarifies any confusion you may have had around the difference between a Physio, Chiro and Osteo. Remember, it is recommended that you speak with your GP before committing to any treatment options. If you decide a chiropractor would be best suited to you, we hope to see you at Wellspring Chiropractic.

To book an appointment with Dr Scott please call 3482 2637 or click here to book an appointment online.