Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, Kinesiologist, Occupational Therapist… What’s the difference?
Health professionals have many titles, and it can sometimes be difficult to fully understand how their roles differ. The goal of this blog post is to help you better understand the differences between Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Kinesiologists, and Occupational Therapists.
A physiotherapist is a health professional that is skilled in the understanding of body movement and function. The goal of a physiotherapist is to help you improve mobility, range of motion, and function of your muscles and joints. A physiotherapist is skilled in assessing joint difficulties and level of function as well as prescribing exercises to help you live an active pain free lifestyle. Physiotherapists are experts in prevention, identification, assessment, and treatment of people who have compromised movement and function due to ageing, injury, diseases etc.
A chiropractor is a health professional that assesses, diagnoses, and treats disorders related to the spine, pelvis, nervous system, and joints. Chiropractors usually focus on treatment through manual adjustment and manipulation of the vertebrae of the spine (and other joints) which is called an “adjustment.” The goal of this treatment is to restore your joint’s natural movements and improve joint function.
Kinesiology is the study of the mechanics of body movement. Accordingly, a kinesiologist primarily focuses on prescribing exercise programs. In some provinces such as Ontario, kinesiologists are regulated health professionals. Along with prescribing exercise programs, kinesiologists assess movement and performance and determine the best way to maintain and improve your body’s movement.
An occupational therapist is a health professional that is skilled in helping people who have suffered from an injury (or illness) to effectively perform everyday activities. Occupational therapists aim to help you better perform the activities that you want to do. For example, if you have knee surgery, a physiotherapist will help you regain function in the knee and ensure that the muscles and joint are working properly, and an occupational therapist will help you learn how to effectively exit the car or safely enter the shower. Occupational therapists have even been known to help stroke patients re-learn daily tasks like dressing and using utensils.
The type of therapy that you receive will be tailored to the specific needs of your injury or illness. All health professionals aim to work with you to make a plan that suits your individual goals and desires. Although these health care professionals have similar goals and can treat many of the same conditions, it is important to understand the differences between them so that you can work with your doctor to decide which therapy will be most effective for your needs.
Registered Physiotherapist, Co-Owner of Thrive Now Physiotherapy