Physio, Chiro or Osteo?


Easily the most common questions we get in the clinic are;

How do I know who to see?


What’s the difference between Physio, Chiro, Osteo, Acupuncture…


What’s ‘better’ between…


This is the answer I give to avoid upsetting anyone but I genuinely believe it now. Some Physio’s are amazing and some Chiro’s are amazing. Some Physio’s and Chiro’s are really poor. The important thing here is it is not the profession that dictates your level of care, your time with a practitioner, your outcomes and how evidenced based your treatment will be… this is and always will be individual.


Look for quality time. Practitioners need to spend at least 20-30 minutes of one on one time with you. Preferably longer in an initial consult. The consult should be focused on you… not ducking out to see how another patient is doing.Look for the real questions. Great practitioners will ask about your social history, your sleep, your job and deeper questions not just to do with your pain. The very best and latest evidence is telling us that for tricky pains, lasting for longer than they should, these are the crucial questions. Your practitioner should spend time listening to these responses.An Active Approach. Your practitioner should be focused on empowering you to move daily, strengthening daily, progressively getting you stronger over the weeks. The research shows us that this is the best way to improve niggles and pains and keep them away AND prevent further injury. Strengthening is the only way.Challenging You. Your practitioner should challenge you to do great things for your health in the movement, strengthening, sleeping, stress department. Ask Questions. Test your practitioner… What’s the evidence on surgery vs cortisone vs strengthening for this. How long will this last? What does the best evidence say about this. If they can’t answer straight away they should be able to find an answer quickly for you. As patients we need to ask more questions. Remember there are a lot of practitioners who are just doing the same thing over and over again.


If your practitioner is seeing multiple patients at once. Just no. The whole consult should only be focused on you.“I’ll fix you” mentality. Your practitioner will have a lot of different techniques to make you feel better in the short term but long term it should all be about empowering you to move on, stop seeing them and get stronger. If you are constantly going back and back and back for tune up after tune up and you aren’t working on getting stronger… then… run.Passive Treatments. It’s okay to get some soft tissue work and a massage and some needles and some tape here in the very early phase of your injury. However, if after an extended period of time the majority of the consult is still passive i.e. practitioner doing ‘things’ to you, rather than a focus on you getting stronger, please reconsider.Language and Beliefs. If your practitioner is saying things like;“You should stop that.”“You can’t do that anymore.”“Your joints are shot/worn out/degenerated.”“You need to see me to keep your spine in check/in place/aligned.”These beliefs have not only been proven incorrect but also harmful. These beliefs, long term can actually impact how strong we are, how susceptible to injury we are and even our recovery when we have an injury.Look for a therapist that is all positive…“This is just a flare up or grumpy or irritated.”“We just need to settle this down and build it back up.”“The body is adaptive, let’s get you stronger.”“Let’s get you back to running, walking, gym, movement, as that’s the only way forward.”


The dirty secret is that there are thousands and thousands of soft tissue, mobilizations, manipulations, cracks, needles, tapes we can apply. They all help you feel better at the start and they all do absolutely nothing for your long term outcomes.Therefore it doesn’t really matter what happens in that first 1-2 weeks or ‘acute’ phase of your injury. Osteo, Physio and Chiro all have very different techniques in the short term and none of them are very evidenced based, none are better than the other… but they can all be helpful to settle your symptoms down and desensitize you in the acute phase of the injury. You may have a preference here and I would stick with that… some people just ‘want’ a massage and that’s okay. Some people want a manipulation or that ‘crack’ feeling… and that’s okay too.


  • Find someone you trust, who spends quality, one on one time with you and asks important social history questions AND actually listens to the response.
  • Find someone who uses positive language about recovery, someone who talks about getting stronger and more robust. Stay away from people who are suggesting you need tune ups or adjustments over and over again without any strengthening.
  • Find someone who empowers you to get yourself better through active treatments.
  • Find someone who is willing to answer your tough questions. What’s the treatment plan? How long should this take? What’s the best evidence for this condition.
  • Lastly, run away if the treatment isn’t active, if you are being told something is degenerated, out of place, won’t work properly etc etc.
  • And run away if very quickly your treatment isn’t becoming active but still looks like… “Okay get on the bed, let me do this, this, and this to you.”

Any Questions?​

As always feel free to message us on FB, email or book in online at 1 of our 3 locations in Sydney;

iMove Physio Miranda: (

iMove Physio Panania: (

iMove Physio Rozelle: (

iMove Physio Miranda Services These Suburbs:

  • Miranda
  • Sylvania
  • Gymea
  • Gymea Bay
  • Kirrawee
  • Yowie Bay
  • Taren Point
  • Caringbah
  • Caringbah South
  • Wooloware
  • Cronulla

iMove Physio Panania Services These Suburbs:

  • Panania
  • Revesby
  • Revesby Heights
  • East Hills
  • Picnic Point
  • Padstow
  • Padstow Heights
  • Milperra
  • Condell Park
  • Voyager Point
  • Chullora

iMove Physio Rozelle Services These Suburbs:

  • Rozelle
  • Balmain
  • Balmain East
  • Birchgrove
  • Drummoyne
  • Pyrmont
  • Glebe
  • Lilyfield
  • Annandale
  • Leichhardt
  • Marrickville