No one enjoys being injured or in pain, so naturally, we look for a solution to our problem. For most people, however, it can be a challenge to work out who will provide the right type of care and treatment. Below we will discuss the differences between a physiotherapist and an exercise physiologist (EP) and help you work out when to see either profession.
Firstly, it is important to note; there are a lot of similarities between these industries. Both physio’s and EP’s deal with pain, injuries, health and many aspects of well-being.
The most significant difference between the two industries is that physiotherapists are primarily hands-on, while EP’s are mostly hands-off.
What does a physio do?
Physiotherapists are highly skilled professionals with an in-depth knowledge of the human body. They are primarily focused on the restoration of normal function - particularly in the acute (beginning) stages of an injury. It is the job of a physiotherapist to help you get relief from pain, and return to a baseline level of function. In chronic health conditions, physiotherapists can be of great help to relieve pain, provide advice regarding lifestyle choices and help create an appropriate exercise program.
When a physiotherapist may be more appropriate:
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then a physiotherapist is most likely the best person for you to see.
What does an Exercise Physiologist do?
Exercise physiologists are much more focused on the long term rehabilitation - especially in chronic health issues. They are highly skilled in exercise prescription, with a detailed knowledge of health. It is helpful to think of exercise physiologists as highly trained coaches.
When an EP may be more appropriate:
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then an exercise physiologist is most likely the best person for you to see.
Similarities between physiotherapists and exercise physiologists
As mentioned earlier, there are several similarities between the two professions. Primarily, it is that they are both capable of helping with many health concerns.
Differences between physio’s and EP’s
The differences are usually in the timeline of treatment. Below is a simple diagram explaining the role of physiotherapists and exercise physiologists concerning the overall injury timeline.
If you are still unsure as to who can help you the most, then perhaps you are someone who requires treatment from both! Physiotherapists and exercise physiologists are used to working in a team and can collaborate to give you the best outcome.