Chiropractic vs physiotherapy: Choosing what is right for you
Let’s take a closer look at the treatments and benefits provided when it comes to chiropractic vs physiotherapy. When seeking professional help for chronic pain or injury it’s important to choose the best possible treatment for your condition. This can help prevent further injury. But with so many various treatment options and approaches it can be difficult to choose the right healthcare professional.
If you are suffering from chronic pain, pinched nerves, sciatica, back, neck, or shoulder pain you can pursue therapy to correct the underlying problem. These two popular types of treatments can help you address these and many other health issues without the use of drugs or surgery.
Chiropractic vs physiotherapy: what’s the difference?
The treatment options of chiropractic vs physiotherapy have several similarities and differences. It is important to be aware of these before deciding on which treatment route to take. Here, we will review the purposes of each approach and the unique benefits that each has to offer, to help you choose the right one for your condition.
Both chiropractors and physiotherapists help their patients by treating or managing many types of injuries and chronic pain conditions but each has their own approach and specialties. Both are considered complementary treatments in that they are noninvasive and don’t require pharmaceutical or surgical intervention. Instead, they work alongside or prior to these more invasive procedures. Because of this, chiropractic and physiotherapy can often be complementary to each other and work synergistically with one another, so the decision doesn’t have to be one or the other.
Chiropractic care is a therapy that treats the nervous system (brain and spinal column) as well as the musculoskeletal system which includes your bones, cartilage, joints, muscles, nerves, and tendons.
When an injury, deformity or illness occurs, a chiropractor can adjust or realign the spine with their hands and other instruments to provide pain relief by removing pressure off spinal nerves. This leads to improved communication between the brain through those spinal nerves to the rest of your body’s organs, muscles, cells, and tissues.
Using several specialized techniques, chiropractors can find degenerative changes, disc injuries and subluxations (which are misalignments of the spinal vertebra causing nerve irritation) in the spinal column. Chiropractors can also prescribe and perform neurological tests like EMG or NCV, Semg and thermography as well as read and perform X-rays and MRI’s.
Once the cause and extent of your condition has been determined they can tailor a program best suited for your specific problem. A treatment plan could consist of a series or a combination of different techniques.
Physical therapy modalities
Chiropractors have a more extensive set of diagnostic tests they can order and a wider scope of practice in comparison to physiotherapists. This allows them to provide chiropractic care and physical therapy rehabilitation if they choose to blend the two. Ease of access to these and other diagnostic tests allows doctors of chiropractic to make targeted adjustments.
Chiropractors go through years of extensive training and those who specialize in sports-related injuries have additional training in the adjustment of other joints such as the knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers. Because of its focus on building health as opposed to simply fighting disease, chiropractic care works well with holistic approaches to healthcare and helps improve the daily functions of millions of people each year.
Physiotherapy also is known as physical therapy and is a broad term used to describe any kind of therapy that encourages the body to increase strength and mobility. By contrast, physical therapists focus on the study of soft tissue (muscles, tendons, and ligaments). Some physiotherapists can perform some of what the chiropractor does, such as spinal manipulation and muscle release techniques. Although, it is important to understand that their training in spinal manipulation is much less than a chiropractor.
So what falls within the scope of physiotherapy? If an illness or injury has impacted a patient’s balance, mobility, or strength, a physical therapist works to restore their health gradually through different treatment techniques. A lot of the focus of physiotherapy in on rehabilitation. Physical therapists work intending to restore mobility after an injury or illness. To achieve this goal they may use passive, active, or manipulative therapies depending on the patient’s needs.
- Cold laser therapy
- Electric stimulation
- Muscle stretching and different exercises
- Massage therapy
Physiotherapists can work in conjunction with other healthcare professionals to diagnose conditions and to put together a comprehensive treatment plan for the patient’s rehabilitation. However, physical therapists cannot take or order X-rays, MRI’s or CT scans and they require a referral from your primary care doctor.
Chiropractic vs. Physiotherapy: What are the benefits?
Since some of the treatments of chiropractic vs physiotherapy can overlap let’s look at they help the patient. Both chiropractic care and physiotherapy offer many benefits for people looking to heal from or prevent back pain, joint pain, immobility, or injury. Many of their benefits overlap, which can make choosing between the two difficult. By looking at each therapy’s unique approach to treatment and the advantages each one offers, you can better decide whether chiropractic or physiotherapy is right for you.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care
Chiropractors provide relief for a variety of conditions. They can offer many benefits for people suffering from a range of nervous system and musculoskeletal problems.
With chiropractic care, the philosophy is that each body is different and therefore, requires tailored treatments. Chiropractors assess each patient and determine how best to adjust their spine or extremities to provide relief.
Non-Invasive and Safe
If you’ve never undergone chiropractic care before, you may be wondering is chiropractic safe? Yes, because chiropractic care is non-invasive. It means there’s a lower risk of complications compared to invasive treatments like spinal surgeries or taking medications.
Immediate Restoration to Health
Many patients who see chiropractors report feeling almost immediate or near-immediate relief from their chronic pain conditions. Undergoing spinal adjustments can help to alleviate pressure from nerves and muscles, which will, in turn, reduce the pain. Chiropractic adjustments also have an immediate impact on mobility, coordination, and function.
Reduced Need for Surgery and Medication
Many physicians today will refer their patients to chiropractors or physiotherapists before administering conventional medical treatment. Getting the opinion of a chiropractor can help the entire healthcare team make better-informed decisions about the patient’s needs.
Chiropractic care is a proven approach to wellness and pain relief that is safe and non-invasive. Research also shows that chiropractic is the preferred method for neurological conditions such as sciatica, neuritis, headaches, trigeminal neuralgia, occipital neuralgia, and back pain. In “Chiropractic 101” I answer even more common questions about chiropractic therapies and who they can help.
Benefits of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy can help many different issues and focuses on the support and restoration of your joints, muscles, tendons, and mobility. By seeing a physiotherapist for your injury, you can obtain the following health benefits.
Rehabilitation and Recovery
For patients who have suffered an injury or illness, physiotherapy can be an effective and personalized way to rehabilitate your body and recover faster. Physiotherapists will work with you to ensure you’re adequately recovered. Physical therapy before a necessary surgery can help strengthen the patient and reduce the amount of rehab needed afterward.
Because physical therapy focuses on strengthening and rehabbing the body, the result is the patient becomes stronger, increasing the ability to prevent future injury. Physical therapists will identify patterns and issues in their patients and develop a care plan to avoid long-term problems. They can also help improve balance and coordination to reduce the risk of falling.
Choosing Between Chiropractic or Physiotherapy
If you’ve suffered a recent injury or you’re looking to relieve chronic or acute or pain, it’s important to consider all available options. Especially when it comes to improving your quality of life and getting you back to pre-injury status. Chiropractic care and physical therapy are two of the least invasive therapies available to help you restore your health faster and prevent future injuries.
Both chiropractic and physiotherapy, while different, are great treatment options that also work well together. However, chiropractic does have that extra edge. It can do more in the physiotherapy range than physical therapists can do in chiropractic territory. However, you may find that incorporating both therapies into your personalized health plan can benefit you, even if you are not currently experiencing pain.
Dr. David Kulla provides chiropractic treatments, including cold laser therapy, for many conditions at Synergy Wellness Chiropractic & Physical Therapy in New York City. Schedule an appointment for safe and effective Physical therapy or chiropractic care today.