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What Is The Difference Between A Chiropractor and Physical Therapist

Chiropractors and physical therapists are licensed professionals who use various treatment methods to treat and manage chronic body pains, stiffness, and discomforts across the lifespan. Pain may or may not always be the result of an injury. They all have the same goal in mind: to improve a patient’s flexibility, mobility, and quality of life through customized plans based on their needs, injury type, and body ailment.

While physical therapy and chiropractic care are appropriate for treating and co-treating a wide range of symptoms and health conditions, their approach and perspective to achieve the desired results may differ. In some cases, and depending on the type of discomfort, one treatment method may be more effective than another. Knowing the distinction between the two disciplines can assist patients seeking pain relief in selecting the most appropriate treatment option for their condition. Continue reading to learn more about each provider’s area of expertise and how they can assist you in your recovery.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Physiotherapy, often known as physical therapy, or PT, is a type of health care professional who focuses on increasing your body’s capacity to move and function painlessly while improving your overall quality of life, particularly after an injury or surgery. A physical therapist’s purpose is to assist you in achieving the best amount of movement possible so that you can function optimally in your daily life.

While seeing a physical therapist, they will assess your symptoms or injuries and develop an exercise program to guide and assist you as you work toward your goal. They also provide knowledge and assistance to help you live an active and healthy lifestyle in the future.

Sometimes only a couple of physical therapy sessions will be necessary before you begin to notice a difference in your condition. Physical therapy is typically performed over a period of time to help in the correct healing of the body, and you will work with your provider to assess your progress and set goals between appointments.

What Do Chiropractors Do?

A chiropractor, like physical therapists, employs a hands-on approach to healing, but their primary focus is on relieving pain and inflammation through the use of manual manipulation techniques. In their practice, chiropractors believe that the body is capable of self-healing when provided with the non-invasive assistance of a chiropractor. Rather than relying on drugs or surgical procedures, chiropractors and physical therapists (PTs) alike emphasize natural and manual healing methods.

In chiropractic care, the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine, is emphasized as the mechanism by which the rest of the body can be healed. Chiropractic adjustments are the most commonly used technique of treatment, in which the spine is manually manipulated in order to realign the vertebrae and promote improved functioning throughout the body.

Chiropractors are frequently sought for in an accident or injury, but they can also be sought for preventative or long-term wellness care. Multiple sessions are usually required to observe changes, and maintaining proper spinal alignment is an ongoing effort.

Similarities and Differences

As you can see, there is some crossover in the practice of physical therapists and chiropractic physicians. They share comparable objectives and approaches to healthcare delivery. In certain aspects, they may be comparable in their approaches, as listed below:

  • Treatment for many of the same problems is performed by both using their hands and manual techniques. 
  • Both are focused on managing pain and suffering through the use of non-invasive and non-surgical techniques.
  • Several of the conditions they address are the same.
  • Both are focused on general wellness plans for patients outside of the office.
  • Both are interested in your health history and your environment to determine the root cause of the issue.
  • In addition to having substantial education and training, they are both licensed, professional health providers.

However, there are certain differences between the two providers as well as similarities. Some of the most significant differences are as follows:

  • Physical therapy aims to restore pain-free movement, whereas chiropractic care is focused on correcting spinal misalignments and providing pain relief through adjustments.
  • PT is focused on the overall movement and function of the body, whereas chiropractic is typically concerned with the spine, neck, joints, legs, or arms. 
  • In order to heal your body, a chiropractor will do manipulations and adjustments, and to enhance mobility, a physical therapist will help you perform stretches and exercises.
  • Chiropractors may require specialized equipment, but physical therapists (PTs) can operate in almost any environment.

Choosing the Best Therapy for You

The best way to determine which type of therapy is best for you is to consider your condition and specific needs.

Depending on your situation, you may even want to combine PT and chiropractic care to help eliminate pain and improve your quality of life.

When deciding on the type of therapy you require, it is critical to consult with your doctor. That way, you’ll be able to learn more about how a specific therapy may be able to alleviate your symptoms.

Contact Our Kearney, NE, Physical Therapists & Chiropractors Today for Back Pain Treatment & More!

Call Elite Health and Wellness in Kearney, NE at (308) 455 1500 for Chiropractic and Physical & Occupational Therapy to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor or physical therapist to address your lingering pain.