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Difference Between Physical Therapy Vs Chiropractic Care

Difference Between Physical Therapy Vs Chiropractic Care

Physical therapy and chiropractic care are alternative health care therapies with some similarities. The two disciplines are designed to treat and manage your pain, stiffness, and range of motion. Professionals who practice both are board-certified with extensive education in the relative field. However, their approaches can be slightly different.

This article will look more closely at these two disciplines, what benefits they offer, how they differ and choosing between the two when experiencing pain or joint stiffness.

Chiropractic or Physiotherapy Treatment Approaches

Both physiotherapy and chiropractic care are considered alternative or complementary treatments as they are pain-free, non-invasive, and don’t require pharmaceutical intervention to treat and prevent musculoskeletal disorders.

Both therapies are similar, but differ in:

  • Types of patients treated
  • Diseases and conditions treated
  • Treatment methods and techniques

Chiropractic Treatment Approach

A chiropractor believes the body is intrinsically interconnected as well as possesses a natural ability to heal itself. In order to treat patients, chiropractors rely on a hands-on approach that is non-invasive and requires no pharmaceutical or surgical intervention.

A chiropractor assesses each patient’s body individually and identifies spinal cord and muscular misalignments that may be putting pressure on the CNS (central nervous system) – which can lead to chronic pain. 

In case you have a back or neck injury, you may wonder what does a chiropractor treat and if his treatment can help your condition. There are several musculoskeletal conditions that chiropractors can treat, such as:

  • Sports injuries
  • Whiplash and other car accident injuries
  • Sciatica pain
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Neck, back, and low back pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Arthritis

Some chiropractors are further specialized in areas like pediatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine and nutrition.

Physiotherapy Treatment Approach

Physiotherapists diagnose physical imbalances in patients and help them regain strength and restore range of motion. In addition to identifying health risks, a physiotherapist might also help patients improve overall fitness and wellbeing.

Based on the patient’s underlying conditions, physiotherapists create a personalized treatment plan for each patient. A physiotherapist focuses on the long-term rehabilitation of his patients to prevent future injuries and restore health.

Many reasons can lead patients to see a physiotherapist, including:

  • Sports injuries
  • Increasing mobility in aging adults
  • Quick recovery after surgery
  • Recovery from stroke, multiple sclerosis, and neurological conditions

Just like chiropractors, physiotherapists may also specialize in geriatrics, sports medicine, occupational therapy, and more.

What are the key differences?

Physical therapy

Chiropractic care

The primary goal is pain-free movement

Key primary goals include pain relief, misalignment of the spine, and improved range of motion

Focuses on the body as a whole and its movements and functions.

The majority of issues covered are pain related to the back, neck, chronic headaches, and joint pain in the arms or legs.

Physical therapists help you improve your mobility through stretches and exercises.

Chiropractors adjust and manipulate your spine to help your body heal itself.

Most physical therapists work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and even the home setting.

The chiropractor usually requires a special environment and equipment to adjust and manipulate spine and joints

The bottom line

The goal of physical therapy and chiropractic care is to manage pain and other symptoms by using noninvasive techniques. Hands-on therapy is used in both disciplines to treat specific conditions.

If you find it hard to move around easily or have pain in a specific joint – consult your physician about whether chiropractic care or physical therapy would work best for your condition.

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