Physiotherapist vs Exercise Physiologist?

What actually is the difference between Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists?

One of the reasons this question can be confusing is that they both work within a broad scope of practice and have a lot of crossover.

Physiotherapists use techniques such as soft tissue mobilization (massage), dry needling and joint mobilization, to treat medical conditions, injuries and movement disorders. They  mainly assist in the acute or initial stage of rehabilitation where they are able to assess, diagnose and develop a plan for your recovery or rehabilitation. Their main goal is to improve movement, restore function and reduce pain of injured body parts so you are able to return to normal daily activities.

Exercise Physiologists specialize in exercise and movement and are able to prescribe and deliver safe and effective exercise interventions and lifestyle modifications for the prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries. They mainly assist in the mid to later stages of rehabilitation and use exercise to improve strength, mobility and function of not only the injury, but the whole body. Their main goal is to increase functional capacities and improve overall quality of life and wellbeing.

Commonly physiotherapists and exercise physiologists work together, so you’ll often see a physiotherapist initially and then be referred to an exercise physiologist for further strengthening and long term injury or condition management.

You should see a Physiotherapist if:

  • You experience persistent pain that isn’t getting better.
  • Your pain is getting worse.
  • You know a certain movement will cause pain so you avoid it.
  • You have a new injury and need assistance rebuilding strength and mobility 

I lifted a heavy object and now have a sharp pain in my hip that isn’t going away”

“I had knee surgery 4 weeks ago and need assistance regaining my strength”

You should see an Exercise Physiologist if: 

  • You want to improve strength, mobility or overall health and well being. 
  • You have chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or osteoporosis and want to start exercising. 
  • You have a pre-existing injury that still causes some pain or discomfort from time to time.

I have diabetes and want to decrease my weight, I also have osteoarthritis in my knee that hurts when I exercise”

“I have asthma and occasional lower back pain and want a safe exercise program I can do myself”

We have both physiotherapists and exercise physiologists at our clinic to ensure you achieve the best treatment outcome possible.

If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment, call us on 3802 3223.