Physiotherapist and Exercise Physiologist – What’s The Difference?

A common query we receive in our practice  What is the difference between a physiotherapist and an exercise physiologist?

The main difference between the two is that a physiotherapist offers hands-on treatment and passive treatment with joint manipulation, massage and acupuncture. An exercise physiologist is hands-off treatment, providing specific clinical exercise programs for the rehabilitation process. 

What remains the same is the 10 Commandments to Healthcare:

  1. You shall treat both the diagnosis and the person
  2. You shall empower the patient in educating them to take control of their rehabilitation 
  3. You shall assist the patient in returning to the physical activities they love and enjoy
  4. You shall encourage and active approach to rehabilitation
  5. You shall address negative or damaging beliefs the patient has and empower them to trust the process
  6. You shall promote strength, resilience and adaptability 
  7. You shall actively listen to what the patient has to say and build a trusting foundation
  8. You shall keep up to date and remain evidence-based
  9. You shall use manual therapy when appropriate, particularly if it helps the patient to move with less pain
  10. You shall calm down the issue and build strength and confidence back up

The Acute Phase

The early stages of an injury is known as the acute phase. This phase consists of pain, swelling, redness and loss of function to the area. Immediately post-injury is when you should seek the help of a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist will assist in controlling the inflammation of the joint and use manipulative techniques to reduce pain. 

Physiotherapists provide a diagnosis to the injury, as well as the appropriate manual therapy needed. They will also recommend if a temporary mobility aid will be necessary.

At Progressive Physiotherapy, we assess, treat, educate and manage all musculoskeletal injuries. We focus on hands-on treatment, exercise prescription and self-management techniques that are tailored to your needs. With an evidence-based approach, treatments used will maximise the outcomes.

We are able to provide Physiotherapy for:

  • Work-related injuries
  • Motor vehicle accident injuries 
  • Sports injuries
  • Chronic injuries
  • Pre and post-operative conditions
  • Preventative management
  • TMJ/Jaw disorders

If you are experiencing acute pain that is recent and lasting less than three months or you require manual therapy for symptomatic relief, you can contact our friendly staff to have an appointment with one of our highly experienced physiotherapists.

The Recovery Phase

The next stage of rehabilitation takes place with an exercise physiologist, where they provide structured treatment involving gentle exercises to regain the range in movement, as well as restore joint mobility and strength to optimise function. 

At Progressive Physiotherapy, our exercise physiologists assess and formulate an individualised program to suit your needs. We focus on the practical, achievable and functional exercises with a great emphasis on evidence-based principles. 

We utilise our in-house, 70sqm gym space to ensure the maximum function is achievable. We want our clients to return to the activities they love.

We can provide Exercise Physiology for:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Functional work-related programs
  • Sports performance
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Falls prevention
  • Chronic disease management
  • Lifestyle modification

If you are experiencing a recurrence of acute pain that has lasted longer than three months, have ongoing chronic pain that has not responded to previous traditional treatment or are diagnosed with a chronic health condition, book an appointment with our experienced team of exercise physiologists.

Elin, is an alumni of St. Edward’s University and holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, furthered her academic journey by attaining a Doctor of Physiotherapy from Macquarie University in 2022.

Her passion for sports, particularly football (soccer), is evident in both her academic pursuits and personal endeavors. Specialising in the comprehensive well-being of athletes, Elin focuses on restoring them to peak performance while actively preventing future injuries.

Elin’s professional expertise is centered on musculoskeletal rehabilitation, with a specific emphasis on addressing and preventing knee injuries. Her approach integrates expert treatment with a commitment to educating and empowering patients, fostering their active involvement in enhancing their health and overall quality of life.

As an active participant in NPL football with SD Raiders, Elin brings firsthand experience and a profound understanding of the sport’s demands. Beyond the field, she extends her influence by contributing sports coverage over the weekends.

Christopher (Chris) Han graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, and then completed the Doctor of Physiotherapy program at Macquarie University in 2018. Chris is currently undertaking his PhD at the University of Sydney and Institute for Musculoskeletal Health in the field of low back pain and is due to complete this in early 2024. 

Chris is currently an assistant Physiotherapist for the NRL Referees. Chris has previous experience as the head Physiotherapist at Panthers Premier League Netball and a number of elite sporting athletes in the private setting.

Through Chris’ experiences, he has a particular interest in all areas of the body and musculoskeletal physiotherapy, sports, vestibular rehabilitation, and Men’s Health (pre and post prostate surgery).

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, in cardiac rehabilitation, neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since working at Progressive, Andrea has a specialist interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries, helping people in the mid-late stage of rehab to get them to return to sport or work. As well as helping people manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes.