What's the Difference Between Physical Therapy and Physiotherapy?

Are you in the process of recovering after an injury? Do you have chronic pain that you want to treat without the use of narcotics? Do you want to ensure that you’re getting the best possible care to heal quickly? You may be familiar with two kinds of therapy: physical therapy and physiotherapy. But which is which — and which is better?

At City Chiropractic and Wellness in Midtown, New York City, Drs. Max Heller and Neil Patel are experienced chiropractors who offer treatment options that can help you get back on your feet with your full range of strength and motion — whether you’re recovering from surgery or you’ve just run a difficult marathon.

Physiotherapy vs. physical therapy

The two terms are similar, and often used interchangeably. So is there a difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy?


Traditionally, physiotherapy has been defined as hospital-based, while physical therapy can be conducted at clinics or even at home. Physiotherapists can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that affect motion and physical abilities in patients of all ages, and physiotherapy is considered more “hands on” than other types of therapies.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy involves manually treating soft tissues, like ligaments, muscles, and tendons. However, traditional physical therapists tend not to treat the spine.

Both physical therapy and physiotherapy practices have the same goal of restoring your full physical range of motion after an injury or surgery. In recent years, however, more physical therapists have been trained and certified to be more “hands on” in their healing approach.

In the United States, the term “physical therapy” has evolved to describe practices that people outside the US would say fall under “physiotherapy.” But now there’s little to no difference between the specific treatment procedures.

What to consider when seeking treatment

More important than the specific terms used to describe the treatment is the quality of your therapist and their training. A combination of manual therapies and exercises are more beneficial than just exercises and stretches alone. At City Chiropractic and Wellness, our skilled chiropractors offer customized treatment plans that focus on the unique needs of our patients.

Learn more about which types of therapy are right for you

If you want to ensure the fastest and easiest recovery possible, know that you’re in good hands at City Chiropractic and Wellness. Call our Midtown Manhattan office to schedule an appointment. You can also set up your consultation online through our website. We look forward to hearing from you.

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