What’s the Difference Between Chiropractic vs. Physical Therapy

When you are suffering from aches, pains, or injuries, it can be tough to determine whether you should be contacting a chiropractor or a physical therapist. All too often the roles of each of these two get blurred – and it doesn’t help that they usually work closely with one another. 

Let’s take a look at each one – chiropractic care and physical therapy – to determine the difference. 

Chiropractic Care

When you are dealing with pain, such as back pain, neck pain, or even headaches, your overall quality of life can be greatly diminished. When this pain is chronic, rather than sporadic, the quality of life can sink quickly. A chiropractor will work to reduce pain without the use of medicine or surgery. 

Much of the focus of chiropractic care is on spine alignment and whole-body health. And for good reason since this misalignment can lead to things like nerve damage and inflammation that will progressively get worse if not treated. With regular chiropractic care, adjustments can be made to realign misaligned spines – and put everything back in place. This aids greatly in recovering and healing. 

Conditions Treated By Chiropractic Care

There are so many conditions that chiropractors treat that it is hard to narrow them down. Most, if not all, deal with some level of pain – it’s where that pain stems from that varies. Patients may seek chiropractic care for pain that results from stress, accidents, poor posture, injury, and more. And the pain may include: 

  • Back pain (especially lower back pain)
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Whiplash
  • Sciatic pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Knee pain

Keep in mind that this is just a list of the most common pains treated by chiropractic care. Because they offer a long list of treatments, the list of conditions they treat is extensive as well. 

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist’s goal is to help patient’s restore their mobility that has been lost. This may be the result of an injury, car accident, sport, illness, or something else. Though they also help patients maintain and improve their mobility to prevent future injury or loss of mobility – especially in sports. 

Physical therapy involves the use of many different types of treatments based on the patient and their needs. This treatment may include manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, cryotherapy, and more. By opting for physical therapy many patients are able to promote healing and reduce the need for surgery or more invasive treatment methods. 

Conditions Treated By Physical Therapy

There are many ailments that can be treated by physical therapy, always leaving the patient with an improved overall quality of life. A few of the most common are: 

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Lymphedema
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Sprains
  • Car accident injuries
  • Knee pain or injury
  • Pre- and post-surgery rehabilitation
  • Strains
  • Limited range of motion

Working Together is Beneficial

Sure, there are differences when it comes to physical therapy and chiropractic care. But, the truth is – you usually see the two working side by side for a reason. The combination of both chiropractic adjustments with supporting treatment from physical therapists can lead to the greatest chance of overall healing for the patient. 

Alyssa Kenyon is the founder of Stuart Spine Center, a chiropractic office in Stuart, FL that offers a long list of services that can promote healing, including chiropractic care, physical therapy, nutrition and weight loss, pregnancy, and more.