Chiropractor vs. Physical Therapist: What Are the Differences?

While there are similarities between chiropractors vs. physical therapies, as they both have extensive knowledge of the musculoskeletal system, they differ in their treatment approaches.

When it comes to chiropractors vs. physical therapists, there are similarities between the two professions, mainly in what conditions they treat. Both chiropractors and physical therapists have extensive knowledge of the musculoskeletal systems. However, there are distinctive differences between the two as well, mainly in their treatment approaches.  

Neither of these practitioners boasts about being “better” than the other. That’s why it’s important to understand what sets each one apart from the others before deciding which of these professionals is best for you. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between chiropractors vs. physical therapists and why both can be beneficial depending on the type of treatment you require.  

Who Are Chiropractors?

General chiropractors focus on issues concerning the musculoskeletal and nervous systems to help restore and realign the body to alleviate pain caused by pulled or pinched nerves and misaligned vertebrae. Chiropractors commonly treat issues like lower back pain, neck pain, sciatica, tension headaches, and more. They complete a doctorate program with extensive training in the assessment and treatment of spinal problems, making them the best physicians when it comes to spinal health. 

Chiropractors use a hands-on approach to find and adjust spinal vertebrae and joints that show signs of restricted movement. These manipulations are done to help restore normal movement, decrease pain, and improve functionality in the body. Overall, chiropractors use a holistic approach to treatment, which typically also includes suggestions about diet, exercise, or lifestyle changes that can assist treatment. 

Who Are Physical Therapists?

Physical therapists, also known as physiotherapists, focus on treating injury and physical disorders by achieving mobilization and normal body function. In other words, they work with the patient to restore movement in muscles after an accident or trauma and improve quality of life using therapeutic exercise, stretching, massage, and other mobilization techniques. Physical therapists work with various issues relating to back and neck pain, sciatica, arthritis, and sports injuries as well as cartilage, ligament, and tendon damage. Additionally, they assist in pre/post-operative rehabilitation and developmental delay in children. Along with mobilization techniques, they teach at-home techniques to help avoid future injuries.  

Chiropractors vs. Physical Therapists 

Chiropractors and physical therapists both work to improve muscle and joint movement, thus reducing pain and improving quality of life. The major difference between the two professionals is that chiropractors focus on spinal alignment and the treatment of nerves, spinal vertebrae, and joints using hands-on chiropractic adjustments, while physical therapists generally work with soft tissue and muscles using exercises and physical aids more often.    

Chiropractors 

Physical Therapists 

Pain relief and spinal realignment are the main treatment goals.  

Pain-free mobility is the main treatment goal.
Chiropractors perform manipulations and adjustments to help relieve pain associated with misalignments and allow the body to function better.  Physical therapists help you perform stretches and exercises to improve your mobility. 
Chiropractors usually need specialized space and equipment to perform adjustments and manipulations. 

Physical therapists work in just about any healthcare environment, as well as in your home. 

Chiropractors and Physiotherapists Combined at PostureWorks  

Unlike general chiropractors, the doctors at PostureWorks specialize in Chiropractic BioPhysics ®, or CBP, which is the best of both chiropractic and physiotherapy. With the use of research- and evidence-based CBP techniques, we focus on correcting the spine to fix any mobility issues and allow the body to function at its best. Our patients undergo the most thorough analysis of their spines and their segment variations, allowing us to create a personalized treatment plan consisting of spinal manipulation, traction, postural exercises, and neuromuscular re-education to remodel ligaments and discs and restructure the spine so that your spinal alignment and posture are in great health and your muscles have the endurance to keep them that way.  

Ultimately, when discussing the similarities and differences between chiropractors vs. physical therapists, neither one is better than the other; the professional you should choose simply depends on the nature of your problem. Some find the most relief in seeing a chiropractor, while others find working with a physical therapist to be the best choice. What matters most is that you find a provider that can truly assess and treat whatever ailment you’re experiencing.  

Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function while eliminating the source of pain and circulatory and nervous dysfunction. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or to learn more about the differences between a chiropractor vs. physical therapist.

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