What is the difference between an EP and a Physio?

We asked our Exercise Physiologists (EP’s) what they would describe as the difference between an EP and a physio is?

“An EP is someone who specialises in the treatment of chronic conditions and help assists with long term lifestyle modifications. A physiotherapist specialises in treating acute predominantly musculoskeletal conditions though manual therapy and early intervention physical rehab”

“Physio’s can provide diagnosis and work in the acute phase of management while EPs prescribe exercise in order to prevent/treat and manage chronic or long term conditions and injuries”

“An EP prescribes exercise to improve the physical function and quality of life of people with chronic disease and long term conditions whilst a physio can diagnose acute injuries and conditions and focus on prescribed manual therapy with exercise”

“An EP works to treat manage and prevent chronic health conditions through the use of exercise where as a physio uses a combination of manual therapy and rehabilitation exercises to manage acute injuries and health conditions.”

What is an Exercise Physiologist? 

By definition and EP is a 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, sub-acute or chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities. Pathology domains covered by the services of EPs include cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological, musculoskeletal, cancers, kidney, respiratory / pulmonary and mental health, and any other conditions for which there is evidence that exercise can improve the client’s clinical status.

How does that differ from a physiotherapist?

Exercise physiology and physiotherapy are both recognised allied health professions. Exercise physiologists primarily treat patients using clinical exercise interventions as their main modality. There is also a strong focus on behavioural change and self-management concepts. Physiotherapists are health care professionals who assess, diagnose, treat and manage acute injury, disability and pain through physical and manual therapy.

Both a physiotherapist and an exercise physiologist

  • Are allied health professionals
  • Prescribe exercise interventions
  • Teach you to move and strengthen in ways that benefit your current heath and injury status
  • Focus on building strength, functional capacity and a body that can tolerate stress and your workload.

Only an Exercise Physiologist can:

  • Provide musculoskeletal and chronic disease/lifestyle management
  • Cardiorespiratory and metabolic specific exercise.
  • Most suited for long-term prevention, management and treatment of chronics conditions.
  • Can provide exercise interventions for people with diabetes, mental health conditions, osteoporosis/osteoarthritis, oncology, cardiopulmonary conditions, long-term neurological conditions (Cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease), intellectual disability (and many more).
  • Specialise in providing lifestyle education and modification

Only a Physiotherapist can:

  • Can provide diagnosis of injuries.
  • Can provide passive/manual therapy (including providing taping/braces).
  • Can focus on supporting tissue healing and reducing localised inflammation.
  • Musculoskeletal rehabilitation centred.
  • Most suited for acute injuries and aid with symptom management.