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What are the different types of doctors and medical professionals?

07 Nov 2018


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Doctor 'dictionary'

We’ve compiled a list of medical experts, their specialties and how they may be able to help you live a healthier life.

nib offers Everyday cover to help you cover day-to-day health costs like visiting the doctor, buying new glasses, or no-referral physio. You’ll also be covered for some of the cost for visits to the chiropractor as well as remedial massage and acupuncture.

Note that not all of the services listed below are covered by nib Everyday cover.

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You may need to visit a chiropractor to prevent injury, undertake rehabilitation, improve fitness or treat pain. Your chiropractor focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the musculoskeletal system, primarily the spine. They will assist you with spinal and joint adjustments, advice, exercises and stretching.


It is definitely not on anyone’s list of favourite things, but regular visits to the dentist are essential for a healthy mouth, teeth and gums. Settling into the chair every six months can help prevent and detect tooth decay, mouth and gum disease and oral cancer. Make sure you visit the dentist sooner if you have tooth sensitivity, pain or bleeding.


A dermatologist doesn’t just specialise in skin, they also deal with hair and nails. If you have itchy skin, rashes, or skin infections, a dermatologist can help diagnose, treat and prevent these ailments. Your GP may also refer you to a dermatologist for skin cancer.


A dietitian isn’t just someone you go to when you want to lose weight. These diet and nutrition experts can help you to prevent or recover from an illness, manage an allergy or increase your energy. A dietitian can help you by assessing your nutritional needs and develop eating plans while providing nutrition counselling and support.

Exercise physiologist

An exercise physiologist can create and deliver exercises for people with medical conditions, injuries or disabilities. If you have a condition or injury that could benefit from physical activity, an exercise physiologist can tailor a programme to your individual needs.

Occupational therapist

If you’ve ever been injured at work, you may have seen an occupational therapist. These therapists help to modify a patient’s home or workplace to improve safety and increase independence. Occupational therapists can also assist you to engage more in activities of daily living.


The eyes have it! You should be seeing (pun intended) an optometrist once every two years or more regularly if you have continued headaches, low vision or trouble focusing. An optometrist will conduct an eye examination, diagnosis and treatment, which may include glasses, prescription or eye exercises.


An orthodontist specialises in aligning teeth, bites and jaws, primarily fitting and managing braces, implants and plates.


Suffering from aches in the back, neck or head? Do you have a repetitive strain injury or whiplash? An osteopath can help by providing massage and stretching to treat soft tissue, specifically muscles, tendons and ligaments.


A physio uses manual therapy, education, advice and movements to help people affected by illness, injury or disability. You can visit a physio if you’re experiencing muscular pain, osteoporosis or arthritis.


Did you know that a podiatrist treats both the foot and lower limbs? They do this with assessments, diagnosis and treatment and can help with a variety of ailments including skin and nail problems, foot and ankle injuries and problems with gait.


As experts in human behaviour, a psychologist studies what influences how you think, feel and learn. They can help you overcome challenges in your life, improve your performance and work with those experiencing mental health disorders.

Speech pathologist

Speech pathologists use examinations, diagnosis and treatment options to help if you are experiencing difficulties with speaking, understanding language, writing, stuttering and reading. These professionals also assist you with stroke recovery and brain injuries, developmental delays and learning disabilities.

Important things to know

Information correct as at September 2018