When it comes to managing pain, improving mobility, or seeking holistic healthcare options, there are various therapeutic approaches available. Two commonly discussed methods of care include chiropractic care and physiotherapy. While they share similarities in their goals of promoting wellness and optimising physical function, each approach has its unique principles. So what is the difference between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist and how can I decide which therapy is best for me? In this article we’ll outline the role each of these people play in contributing to optimal health and wellness.

Let’s start by defining each profession.

What is Chiropractic care?

Chiropractic care takes a hands-on approach to healthcare that focuses on the optimal functioning of the nervous system, which acts as the communication network between your brain and body. The nervous system controls every aspect of your body, from cells and tissues to organs. However, disruptions can occur when bony misalignments, or subluxations, interfere with this vital network. These interferences can hinder your ability to perform at your best and may lead to various issues such as neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, shoulder pain or hip discomfort, and even poor posture.

To address these problems, chiropractic adjustments target the spine and joints to eliminate subluxations and restore the proper function of the nervous system. By doing so, your body can naturally self-correct and regain balance, allowing you to experience an improved quality of life. Chiropractic care empowers your body’s ability to heal and perform optimally, helping you overcome pain and achieve greater overall well-being.

What about Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy aims to restore and improve movement and function. Physiotherapists utilise a range of techniques, including exercises, stretches, manual therapy, electrotherapy, and other modalities, to rehabilitate a wide variety of conditions. They often work in collaboration with healthcare practitioners to help people recover from injuries, manage chronic conditions, and improve mobility and physical performance.

Physiotherapy and chiropractic care are both forms of manual therapy that aim to address musculoskeletal issues and promote overall health. Physiotherapy focuses on restoring movement and function through various techniques. Chiropractic care emphasises the relationship between the spine and nervous system. Each discipline has its unique focus and techniques, and consulting with professionals in each field can help determine the most suitable approach for your needs.

Chiropractor vs Physiotherapist

Chiropractor vs Physio: Background & training

All of these healthcare providers have undergone extensive education and training in their fields. In Australia, the educational requirements to become a chiropractor or physiotherapist vary slightly but each requires an accredited bachelors or masters degree.

Chiropractor vs Physio: Scope of practise


  • Assessment and diagnosis: Chiropractors focus on diagnosing and caring for musculoskeletal conditions, particularly those related to the spine and nervous system.
  • Chiropractic adjustments: Chiropractic care involves manual adjustments and manipulations to restore proper spinal alignment and improve nervous system function.
  • Wellness and maintenance: Chiropractors often emphasise wellness care, focusing on maintaining spinal health, preventing injuries, and optimising overall body function.


  • Assessment and diagnosis: Physiotherapists are trained to assess and diagnose musculoskeletal conditions, including injuries, pain, and movement limitations.
  • Rehabilitation: They provide a wide range of evidence-based therapies, including manual therapy, exercise prescription, electrotherapy, and other modalities to promote recovery, restore function, and manage pain.
  • Education and prevention: Physiotherapists educate people about injury prevention, self-management techniques, and strategies for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

It’s important to note that the scope of practice can vary based on individual practitioners’ training, experience, and additional qualifications. It is recommended to consult with professionals in each field and refer to the respective regulatory bodies for detailed and up-to-date information on the scope of practice in Australia.

So how do I choose who I should see?

Well there is no right or wrong answer to this question. In fact, many people will utilise the services of both. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision.

Your health care goals

Understanding the nature of your condition or injury and what you want to achieve from care can help guide your choice. For example, chiropractors commonly focus on spinal manipulation and musculoskeletal alignment, while osteopaths take a holistic approach to the body’s structure and function. Physiotherapists often specialise in exercise therapy and rehabilitation. Sometimes, the best solution for you might be to involve both. With chiropractic care, many people don’t have a specific complaint or injury. Instead, they want to see a chiropractor to help them improve overall health and wellbeing.

Personal preference

Consider your personal preferences and comfort level. Some people may prefer a specific care approach or feel more at ease with certain healthcare professionals. The rapport and communication you establish with the practitioner are important for a positive therapeutic relationship.

Care plans and practice philosophy

Familiarise yourself with the various techniques and modalities offered by each profession. Chiropractors may utilise spinal adjustments, mobilisations, and soft tissue therapies. Physiotherapists may provide exercise therapy, manual therapy, electrotherapy, and other modalities.

Chat to the Mirrabooka Chiropractic team to learn more about chiropractic care

Looking to book an appointment with a chiropractor? Our team is here to care for you. Whether you’re dealing with chronic health conditions, or want lifestyle advice, the team at Mirrabooka Chiropractic is dedicated to caring for you. Our doors are always open, you can book an appointment by chatting to our friendly team on (08) 9468 7828 or by submitting an online enquiry.