Patients are often unsure about the differences between physiotherapists and chiropractors, and which to visit when injured. These professions often overlap as they both focus on the neuromuscular skeleton system and overall restoration of health therefore often the choice may be dependant on the specfic area you want to be treated, the condition being treated as well as any underlying medical conditions which you may have. 


Physiotherapy according to the South African Physiotherapy Association is involved in the holistic assessing, management and prevention of pain or dysfunction with movement in all age groups. Physiotherapists specialise in treating a variety of medical fields, such as orthopaedics, neurology, respiratory, cardiovascular, obstetrics, sports medicine, paediatrics, geriatrics, intensive care units and general rehabilitation. This treatment prevents re-occuring injuries and enables patients to achieve the highest functional level in their activities of daily living in their home, work and recreational environments. 

Phyisotherapy techniques include mobilisation, manipulation, massage and acupressure; exercise programmes, relaxation techniques, hydrotherapy and biofeedback, specialised electrotherapy equipment, heat, ice and traction to relieve pain and assist healing and recovery, suitable walking aids, splints and appliances, patient education. 


A chiropractic practitioner is concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of neuro-musculo-skeletal disorders and the effects that these disorders have on the nervous system and general health in all patients from babies to the elderly. Treatment methods include manipulation of the spine and other joints, soft tissue treatments, exercise therapy, stress management, electrotherapy, massage, acupuncture and traction, amongst other modalities. Common conditions treated by chiropractioners include infintile colic, feeding /latching difficulties,  neck, upper back and lower back pain, headaches, sciatica, disc disorders as well as  sports injuries. 


Physiotherapy rehab is focused on the improvement of pain free movement, especially after surgery, spinal or sports injury; whereas chiropractors assist the body heal itself through methods mainly designed to adjust and align. Both professionals may recommend adjustments in your daily living activies and exercises that you can do at home.  

Ultimately there may be an overlap in treatment protocol and it may come down to your specific problem or personal choice when choosing between visiting a Physiotherapist ad Chiropractor. Your physiotherapist will be able to advise which treatment regime is best for you and your condition.


Balancemed.co.za. 2022. Services – Balance Sport & Wellness. [online] Available at: <https://balancemed.co.za/services>

Aaron, D., 2022. Chiro vs Physio: What Is The Difference? | Spine and Beyond. [online] Spine and Beyond. Available at: <https://spineandbeyond.co.za/chiro-vs-physio-what-is-the-difference/> [Accessed 21 September 2022].

Durban University of Technology. 2022. Chiropractic. [online] Available at: <https://www.dut.ac.za/faculty/health_sciences/chiropractic/> [Accessed 22 September 2022].