Chiropractor vs. Physical Therapist: Which One Is Right For You?

April 7, 2020 0
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Pain is pain, right? Does it matter who treats it?

Let’s compare a chiropractor vs. physical therapist to help you decide which is best for you.

 

That car accident did a number on your body. Sore back, whiplash, herniated discs…you’re in a lot of pain. So what can you do about it?

When it comes to healing from a car accident or sports injury, you have a few options. You can see a traditional doctor for a prescription (and risk any number of unpleasant side effects) or see a physical therapist.

Or would a chiropractor be better?

Is there really a difference? When it comes down to chiropractor vs. physical therapist, which one is the best choice to help you recover from your injuries?

 

Chiropractor vs. Physical Therapist: Same Goal, Different Methods

A few decades ago, chiropractors and physical therapists were part of the same branch of medicine and worked in conjunction with each other. Nowadays, they are two separate fields.

Despite their differences, chiropractors and physical therapists both have the same goals: improved range of motion and relief from pain. Both of them deal with injuries to the joints as well as soft tissue and may use similar secondary techniques, such as E-stim, ultrasound, and massage therapy to enhance healing.

This, however, is where the similarities end.

doctor holding spine model next to patient's back

 

Chiropractors primarily use hands-on manipulation to bring the spine and other joints back into alignment. Although they do deal with soft tissue injuries and often have a massage therapist on staff, their primary focus is usually on proper alignment of the joints. Proper alignment of the joints will alleviate pressure on the nerves which cause the muscle to spasm.

Physical therapists, on the other hand, primarily focus on muscles and movement. Patients are instructed in a series of exercises designed to build strength and flexibility. If joint misalignments are addressed at all, physical therapy relies on strengthening muscles to help pull the joints back into place.

 

Which One Is Right For You?

If both chiropractors and physical therapists treat similar types of injuries, how do you know which one is best for you? If you haven’t gone to a medical practitioner yet, you probably don’t even know the true cause of your injury.

Here are a few questions to help you decide.

1. Were you in a recent car accident?

The force involved in a car accident (even a relatively minor one) is enough to knock your bones out of alignment. Ironically, in many cases, your seat belt is to blame.

In a recent car accident? Chiropractic care can help!

While it plays a major role in saving your life (and you should definitely be wearing it every time!), a seat belt (especially if you’re wearing it improperly) can cause your body to move in unnatural ways during a crash, moving your hips, vertebrae, and other bones out of their proper places.

A chiropractor can use spinal manipulation and other techniques to move the joints back into alignment and allow your body to properly heal.

2. Is your pain due to a chronic condition?

In most cases, physical therapy is an extended process meant to see results over a long period of time.

If you spend most of your day hunched over a keyboard, it is very likely that any pain you are experiencing is simply due to poor posture. A chiropractor can use manipulation and/or flexion/distraction to provide relief from the ill effects of gravity and bad ergonomics.

3. Do you want quick pain relief?

As we mentioned before, physical therapists often focus on using the muscles to pull the joints back into alignment. If your pain is a symptom of a misaligned vertebrae, it will take time for those muscles to become strong enough to pull your bones back into place.

 

Aren’t Chiropractors Too Time-Consuming?

If you’ve been to a chiropractor before, you may have stopped going because your doctor told you, “Now, just come back and see me three times a week for the next six months!”

Who has that kind of time (or money)?

Unfortunately, it’s chiropractors like these that give the rest of us a bad name. Like any other doctor, your chiropractor should be focused solely on your health and what is best for you, not their income.

learn the difference between a chiropractor and a physical therapist

Regardless of your injuries, you should expect to visit both the chiropractor and physical therapist multiple times before you are fully healed.

Every single patient is different. Do not associate pain from a friend with similar pain that you are experiencing.

Every treatment plan is dictated by a complete orthopedic and neurological examination. After that, treatment is recommended and performed. Usually the doctor will have you come back in a day or two to discuss a more in-depth treatment plan based on your initial results.

 

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you visit a chiropractor or physical therapist, it’s important that your medical practitioner be able to a) identify and b) communicate the true nature of your ailment.

If your doctor is not taking the time to correctly diagnose the problem (through x-rays, for example) and explain how it is affecting your body, find someone who can.

At Oviedo Chiropractic, each new patient gets an x-ray to identify the underlying skeletal issues that might be causing their symptoms. Following this initial consultation, Dr. Justin Cough will develop a treatment plan specific to your injuries.

And if time and money constraints are what stand between you and a visit to an Oviedo chiropractor, give Oviedo Chiropractic a try! Your health is our utmost priority, and Dr. Cough will never recommend costly, unnecessary treatments.

Schedule an appointment today and see how amazing it is to live pain free!


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