If you are experiencing back, muscle or joint pain, you might be considering alternative treatment for the area. The good news is, there are lots of different therapists and techniques to explore and even though initially you may assume a lot of these techniques are similar, they actually have key differences it’s important to be aware of.
Two treatments you may be considering are Physiotherapy and Chiropractic. These two treatments are extremely beneficial for back, muscle and joint pain – and great results can be seen over time with an effective therapist. But what are the differences between a Physiotherapist vs Chiropractor?
The three main differences between Chiropractors and Physical Therapists are the techniques used, treatment philosophy
Difference 1: The techniques of the treatment
One of the main differences you’ll find between Chiropractors and Physiotherapy is the range of movement and the techniques used for addressing issues and pain. Generally, Chiropractors will use their hands to manipulate and adjust the alignment of your spine. A chiropractor’s key principle is that the right alignment of the spine is the key to relieving stress, tension or pain the patient may be feeling – so their attention will focus on this area, and they will tend to use their manipulation techniques in this area. For some adjustments, the focus areas will be small, so you may not need to move very much during the appointment at all.
During a physiotherapy appointment, you may experience a wider range of manipulation techniques. For example, a physiotherapist may use massage techniques, electrical therapies and even exercises and stretches to help ease pain, restore movement.
Difference 2: Treatment focus
Both treatments can help ease pain, soreness or stiffness in the bones, joints and muscles. They can also help improve the mobility of certain areas of the body. However, the wider focus of both treatments does differ slightly. A Chiropractor will mainly focus on your musculoskeletal system and nervous system, and any effect, issues or problems caused by these things. Whilst Chiropractors treat lots of areas and problems, their main care helps to relieve issues such as back pain, neck pain, headaches, and other pain in joints, arms, and legs. These are usually areas of localised pain, which can be assisted and helped using the methodologies of chiropractic techniques.
Physical therapists, however, tend to focus more on evaluating, diagnosing and providing treatment to restore the body’s strength, range of motion and balance. A physical therapist may be dealing with patients who are in recovery, patients who need to build strength slowly and steadily, or patients who are seeing problems due to ageing, injury, disease or environmental factors. Physiotherapists do treat back and neck pain as chiropractors do, but they’re also likely to see a range of other issues too, such as arthritis, sports injuries, swelling, repetitive strain injury, and cartilage, ligament and tendon damage.
Physical therapists are also involved in promoting health, wellness, and fitness through risk factor identification and preventative care. Although they use different techniques, both Chiropractors and physical therapists use their expertise to help rehabilitate and relieve pain in their patients.