The Difference Between a Chiropractor and a Physical Therapist

American chiropractor working with middle aged man

There are similarities between physical therapy and chiropractic care.

A chiropractor and physical therapist share the same goal: to improve a patient’s mobility and flexibility. However, there are many differences between physical therapists and chiropractors. Understanding them will help determine if you should see a chiropractor or physical therapist to treat your specific injury.

In this article, we will examine these two disciplines in greater detail. We will also discuss their differences and offer tips on choosing the best one for your needs.

Chiropractor vs. Physical Therapist: What Are the Similarities?

While chiropractors and physical therapists may have the same goals for patients, they approach them differently. However, there are some similarities between a chiropractor and physical therapist:

  • Both aim to manage pain and discomfort through noninvasive and nonsurgical methods.
  • Both assess your symptoms by taking your medical history, conducting a physical examination, and ordering tests.
  • They both focus on the wellness of their patients beyond what they can do during a session.
  • Both physical therapists as well chiropractors have years of training and education.
  • They may both use manual or hands-on therapy to treat a health condition.

Chiropractor vs. Physical Therapist: What Are the Differences?

Although it might seem like physical therapy and chiropractic care are similar, there are many differences. Here are the differences between chiropractor and physical therapist:

  • Physical therapists work in many settings, such as schools, clinics, and hospitals. While chiropractors usually work in an outpatient setting.
  • Chiropractic care often involves manipulations of spinal subluxations.
  • Physical therapists often recommend their patients home exercise programs to help them reach their rehab goals.
  • Chiropractic care focuses mainly on back, joint, and neck problems. On the other hand, physiotherapy focuses on how the whole body moves and functions.
  • One of the main goals of physical therapy is pain-free movement, while chiropractic care is focused on pain relief and alignment of your spine.

Physiotherapist vs. Chiropractor: What to Expect From a Physical Therapist

Now that you know the difference between a chiropractor and a physical therapist, we’ll discuss what you can expect from a physiotherapist and a chiropractor.

A physical therapist will begin your care by performing an initial evaluation. Your therapist may ask questions about the injury and how it impacts your movements.

If you have undergone surgery, they will ask questions about the procedure and your post-operative treatment. Your therapist will also ask you about your medical history and previous levels of function.

After obtaining a complete history, your physical therapist may examine to determine if any issues could be causing pain or limitations on your movement. Here are some things your physical therapist may test:

  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Gait and functional mobility
  • Scar tissue and skin integrity

After collecting information about your function, impairments, and other factors, your physical therapist will create a rehab plan and discuss your goals for therapy.

Physiotherapist vs. Chiropractor: What to Expect From a Chiropractor

Many people see a chiropractor for neck or back problems. People also see them for sciatica, neck pain, or back pain. A chiropractor will interview you about your pain and ask you questions about your symptoms. They will also review your medical history.

Your chiropractic assessment may include:

  • Spinal subluxations assessment
  • Strength
  • Range of motion
  • Deep tendon reflexes and neural tension tests

After your chiropractor evaluates your condition, they will develop a treatment plan. There are many treatment options available. This could include:

  • Exercises for strength, posture, or flexibility
  • Ice or heat
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Peripheral joint and spinal manipulations to correct misalignments

Chiropractor or Physical Therapist: When Do You Need One?

You might be wondering when is the right time to visit a chiropractor or physical therapist. Here’s when you might need them:

Working with a physical therapist is a good option if you experience pain that affects your ability to move, sit, or do other routine activities. If you cannot move, a physiotherapist could visit you at your home. They can help restore your mobility and get you back on your feet sooner.

Physical therapists may specialize in a particular demographic such as older adults or children. They may also concentrate on one area such as sports injuries or a specific illness like:

  • Osteoporosis and bone injuries
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Psoriatic arthritis

On the other hand, a visit to a chiropractor vs. physical therapist might be necessary if you have a spine problem restricting your movement. They will assess your condition and then adjust your spinal position to improve your movement and feeling.

Some chiropractors can also treat acute joint injuries like hip pain, headaches, and shoulder pain.

How to Choose Between a Chiropractor and a Physical Therapist

A chiropractor and physical therapist have similarities and differences. One of them will offer better solutions depending on your condition.

How do you decide between the two? It all depends on your particular needs and health concerns. Depending on your health condition, you may need both a chiropractor and physical therapist to alleviate your pain and boost your quality of life.

The right health care professional can make a difference in how your injury impacts your life and recovery. Listen to your body, and get professional help when you need it.

Both a chiropractor and physical therapist aim to help you move pain-free, using different treatment paradigms and techniques to achieve this goal. When deciding which type of therapy to use, it is vital to speak to your doctor. Your doctor can help you decide on the best therapy for your condition.

Call Advanced Chiropractors Group

If you feel that a chiropractor is the best person to see, feel free and call us.

Advanced Chiropractors Group is affiliated with licensed chiropractors in Largo, FL. We will connect you to one of them so that you can begin your journey to a pain-free life.

Find the best wellness partner with us. Begin your wellness journey with Advanced Chiropractors Group!

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Disclaimer: This commercial website is not operated by a chiropractors or by a chiropractors association and does not include each and every chiropractor in your geographical area but only those electing to participate.