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, Our expert team has helped to clear up the confusion and has outlined some of the key differences between physios and EPs.

What Are We?

Firstly, let’s define what a Physio and an EP are. Physios 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. Physios also provide treatment for all stages of rehab, acute and long term, depending on the individual patient.

EPs tend to use a more “hands off” approach with more of a focus on long-term rehabilitation/later stages 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 is what we call multi-disciplinary care.

To learn more about how an exercise physiologist, physiotherapist, or both could help you and your health goals use this link.