What is the Difference between Chiropractors and Physical Therapists?

Chiropractors and Physical Therapists share a similar scope of practice. Although they use different techniques, both professions use their expertise to rehabilitate and relieve pain. If you have recently suffered an injury or been in an accident and are experiencing musculoskeletal problems, you may be wondering what type of medical professional you should see. To help you make an informed decision and find the right solution for your pain, it’s important to understand the key differences between Chiropractic Care and Physical Therapy.

Exploring the Main Differences

There are main distinctions between Chiropractors and Physical Therapists. Read below to learn more about these differences so you can determine the best treatment course to suit your individual needs:

1. Treatment philosophy and clinical expertise

Chiropractors: Focus on freeing up stress on the central nervous system. The central nervous system controls and regulates the whole body; it’s the master control system. You experience your life through your nervous system. Any obstructions or interference are removed as underlying issues are addressed vs masked with over the counter or prescription meds (anti-inflammatories, pain killers, muscle relaxers), injections or even surgery. Obstructions or interference could be muscle spasms, subluxations (bone’s misaligned) or scar tissue. Chiropractors also identify what aspects of your life presently and in the past have led to your predicament creating pain and symptoms affecting your overall capabilities and comfortability. Identifying overworked and bound up areas and taking the stress and tension out of these areas with soft tissue work, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, traction, massage, stretches, exercises and/or the all-important manual adjustment are the objective. Three things affect how long it will take before the issue(s) are resolved: how long the issue(s) been there, how severe is the situation, and how many areas have to be addressed. Advice and recommendations are given when necessary to address things being done to the benefit or detriment of someone’s overall health. Chiropractic manual adjustments seek to create balance and symmetry structurally for the individual. Pain reduction and performance enhancement are the goals. Almost every if not every MLB, NFL and NBA team have employed a team chiropractor to address issues described.

Physical Therapists: Their objective is similar, but a huge focus is placed on weakened areas that need to be stronger to create balance and symmetry vs overworked areas that a Chiropractor identifies. Their tools and techniques are similar but the angle with which they approach the situation can vary in relationship to how a Chiropractor would address the issue.

2. Education

Chiropractors: A long educational process must be completed in order to become licensed in either profession. To obtain a Doctorate in Chiropractic, students must complete between 6-8 years of schooling including 3-4 years of undergraduate studies and 5,200 instructional hours. An individual is required to complete up to 4 additional years of study at a chiropractic school, and finally pass the National & State Board exams including a separate physiotherapy exam.

Physical Therapists: A Doctorate of Physical Therapy is typically a 7 year program. Students must complete 4 years of undergraduate studies and approximately 3,500 instructional hours. Following the completion of undergraduate studies, 3 years of physical therapy school must be completed. In addition, students must pass the National Physical Therapy Exam.

Should You Choose One Treatment Over the Other?

While Chiropractic care and Physical Therapy are both excellent options considering what your problem(s) are. If you have overworked, over-stressed bound up areas and there’s interference to your nervous system, muscular system, joints and/or bones Chiropractic is the option that should be sought. Instead of a workout to build up muscles like you would experience at the gym or with a personal trainer or Physical Therapist…a workout happens to you while getting intervention from the Chiropractor or Massage Therapist. Sometimes soreness and achiness are side effects like you would experience from a good workout after being seen. Someone’s condition improving can happen as quickly as the first visit or take a few visits until that would happen based upon how problematic the issues are to resolve.

Physical Therapy is an excellent option for building up weakened areas from underuse or post-surgical are the most common reasons reported to us when people by far benefited the most from this form of intervention.

Find Relief for Your Pain at MaxLife Chiropractic

At MaxLife Chiropractic, we take the natural health care approach to relieving pain, increasing energy, and enhancing your overall well-being. If you need an adjustment, Dr. Jason Harrison is here to help. Dr. Harrison has an extensive background in Chiropractic care, having spent over a decade and approaching 16 years refining his knowledge and perfecting his technique. Our dedicated staff is extremely passionate about providing patients with personalized care so you can continue to get the most out of life. We also offer additional products and services including massage therapy and a wide range of supplements to aid in your recovery.

Please contact us at (317) 808-5675 if you have any questions about our services or if you would like to set up an appointment today.