Chiro vs Physio: What Is The Difference?

by | Jul 30, 2020 | Chiro vs Physio

While chiro treatments and physio sessions are both designed to help treat injuries, restore health and improve overall function in muscles and joints, there are a few key differences between the two. Chiropractors and physiotherapists both focus on the body’s musculoskeletal system and both use manual manipulation as part of treatment. In some ways, these two specialities are similar as they both treat the back, neck and headaches.

There are, however, a few differences in chiro treatments and physio sessions. Keep reading to find out how each differs from the other and where each might help the most.

What is the Difference Between Chiro Treatments and Physiotherapy?

The choice between chiro treatments and physio treatments will largely come down to the specific concern you have as well as the part of the body that is need of treatment. Both play an essential role in overall health and well-being. Some of the key differences between the two include the following:


Chiros take a hands-on approach when it comes to inflammation in pain, using manipulation as a primary technique. The role of chiropractic care is to help the body heal itself through interventions designed to adjust and align. Treatments take place in the treatment room, using specialised equipment to provide you with the best results. It can help people of all ages, including C-section newborns. In addition to gently manipulating your joints and using soft tissue techniques and dry needling for muscles, your chiropractor will also recommend lifestyle changes and exercises you can do at home. This type of treatment is ideal if you are battling with back or neck pain or you have joint or muscle pain in the knees, shoulders, hips, elbows or other joints. It is also effective for those suffering from migraines and other headaches.


A physio’s role is to improve range of movement and muscle function with minimal pain. Mobilisation may be used along with a range of treatments that could include dry needling, massage techniques, electrical therapies, hot or cold therapy, and specialised exercises. Physios may tend to deal more with rehab after surgery, stroke or spinal cord injury . This type of treatment is typically designed to be short-term in many cases once injuries have healed. In other cases, long-term treatment may be needed to manage pain and limited movement from joint issues or other health problems.

Ultimately, the decision on which to choose will come down to your primary concern. Are you dealing with back and neck problems that never seem to go away? Have you been in a car accident and ended up with whiplash? Are you experiencing back pain or tension during pregnancy? Or are you struggling with a degenerative bone problem such as arthritis or a major muscle injury that prevents you from walking or moving?

In many cases, there may be a big overlap in treatment and it may come down to personal choice. The choice does not have to be either or and instead you may find that physio is the best choice initially to treat a serious injury, after which chiro sessions help you manage and maintain your well-being moving forward.

Here at Spine and Beyond, our role is to help you find comfort, relief and well-being. To speak to a highly skilled and experienced chiropractor in Durban, contact us today and book your chiro treatment with Dr Mark Aaron.