Chiro vs Physio. What’s the Difference?

Although the two may appear similar to many, the professions do have distinct differences. Traditionally, chiro has focused on skeletal structure and function, whilst physio has focused on muscular groups. In this article, we’ll explore this idea and take a look at how the two professions are overlapping and trying to bridge this gap.


Physios specialise in movement disorders, which often have to do with muscular tensions. They often work with sporting injuries, neck and back pain, premature babies and those who have trouble moving.

A session typically involves assessing the patient’s needs and situation, discussing the goals the patient has, and developing a plan to meet those goals. The plan often involves lifestyle changes: diet, exercise and mental health included.


Chiros have traditionally specialised in skeletal issues. This often comes in the form of neck and back issues, with many in the public having an image of laying down and having somebody crack their back.

In truth, chiropractors deal with misalignments, tensions and pressures, and use a variety of hands-on methods to achieve this.

A session typically involves discussing the patient’s needs, and then having a hands-on treatment to help solve them. For example, if a patient has a sore lower back, the chiropractor may combine their joint adjustment with a muscle therapy technique such as myofascial release or dry needling.


In summary, the two mostly differ in how they treat problems. Chiros tend to take a more hands-on approach, whereas physios tend to plan and choose less hands-on treatment options.


In recent times, the two have become more similar. Chiropractors have been evolving and are now able to assist with many of the issues that physios treat. We at Northbridge aim to bridge the gap by offering services that are both traditional chiro and traditional physio.

Some chiros, such as Northbridge Chiro, have also adopted a holistic approach, which was traditionally help by physios. This means that they also look at the lifestyle of their patients and create plans for their long-term health.

Which Is Better?

Physios and chiros are like apples and oranges. Some people like one more than the other. Ultimately, it depends upon your situation and preferences.

Are you suffering from spinal pain? If yes, then it is likely that a chiropractor will be better able to help you.

Are you looking for a quick fix or a long-term solution? Many chiros do not look at the issue holistically. If your back hurts, they will simply fix your back, without looking at other reasons why your back may be hurting, such as the nutrients you are having.

If a holistic approach is important to you, you should look for holistically minded chiropractors or physios.

In summary, neither one is inherently better than the other – but one may be better for you.

Get In Touch for More Information

If you have any questions about this article or about the services we offer, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to discuss your situation and needs and answer any questions you may have.