Physiotherapists VS. Exercise Physiologists

Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists (EP) can often be categorized as the same discipline or compared to as “one being better than the other.”

But, though the two share similar qualities they are both two very different disciplines. Sports and Spinal Exercise Physiologist, Georgia White has helped to clear up the confusion and has outlined some of the key differences between physio’s and EP’s.

What Are We?

Firstly, let’s define what a Physio and an EP are. Physio’s are university qualified allied health professionals that assess, diagnose, plan and manage the care of patients across a broad range of areas and conditions.

Whereas, EPs are university qualified allied health professionals equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies to design, deliver and evaluate safe and effective exercise interventions for people with acute, subacute or chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities.

Who Do We Treat?

Both Physio’s and EPs treat a wide variety of patients with differing conditions and treatment needs.

Physio’s treat conditions including:

  • Cardio-respiratory & Neurological
  • Musculoskeletal & Oncology
  • Pulmonary & Chronic pain
  • Women’s & men’s health
  • Disabilities & Sporting injuries

EPs treat conditions such as:

  • Cardiovascular & Metabolic
  • Neurological & Musculoskeletal
  • Oncology & Kidney
  • Respiratory & Pulmonary
  • Chronic pain & Women’s & men’s health
  • Bone health & balance mental health
  • Disabilities, and many more

What Stage of Rehab Do We Treat?

Physiotherapists treat using a combination of hands on and prescribed exercises for the more “acute” stage of rehab. Physio’s also provide treatment for all stages of rehab, acute and long term, depending on the individual patient.

EPs tend to use a more A “hands off” approach with more of a focus of long term rehabilitation/later stage of rehab. Prescribe safe, tailored, effective & clinically justified exercise interventions.

Sometimes the scope of EPs and Physiotherapists do overlap! The main difference is physios are able to DIAGNOSE, ASSESS & TREAT.

Whereas EPs DESIGN, DELIVER & EVALUATE safe and effective exercise interventions.

Here at Sports & Spinal, EPs and Physiotherapists work together to provide the best care for our patients – this what we call multi-disciplinary care. To learn more on how an exercise physiologists, physiotherapist, or both could help you and your health goals use this link.


Written By, Georgia White

Georgia graduated with a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology (Distinction) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Although Georgia is passionate in all fields of exercise physiology, she has a special interest in women’s health, oncology, neurological and pediatric rehabilitation.

Georgia finds it immensely rewarding and takes pride in providing treatment to her patients. She also enjoys watching them progress with treatment, achieving goals and unlocking certain aspects of their rehabilitation they never thought they could. Georgia believes “Exercise is Medicine” and sees the importance of this with her patients as they feel empowered from the benefits of exercise interventions.

Georgia is available for Exercise Physiology appointments at our Springfield and Woolloongabba locations.