What is The Difference Between Physical Therapy and Chiropractic?

by | Aug 30, 2017

I recently came across an article by a chiropractor who stated that he practices ‘chiropractic physiotherapy’ and ‘rehab’. Now, the rules about who can call themselves a physical therapist/physiotherapist vary state-to-state, but he does have a point: there is a good deal of overlap between both the conditions that physical therapists and chiropractors treat and the techniques they use to treat their patients.

For instance, both treat patients with back pain and other types of musculoskeletal pain. Both might employ manual therapy techniques to reduce pain, such as trigger points, Graston, or ART. So what is the difference, and why should you choose one over the other?

The article I mentioned earlier provided a list of the treatments that this chiropractor describes as ‘physiotherapy’. I could not help but notice one crucial treatment that was not included in his list – because it is my favorite treatment technique for addressing the root cause of my clients’ injuries and pain! So what is it?

Every treatment on the list was passive – meaning it is something the chiropractor does to you. These treatments don’t really require anything of you other than to show up for your appointment (and pay the bill!) While they can be effective at relieving pain, none of them are more than a temporary band-aid treatment; they are incapable of addressing the root cause of the issue. For some types of pain and injury, this might be all that is needed – the body is well on the way to healing itself, and all you need is a little pain relief in the meantime. Some of this relief may even be using the placebo effect. But many of my clients have been struggling for months or even years with lingering injuries that just won’t go away, or pain that is stemming from an underlying issue in their biomechanics. Until the root cause of the issue it identified and corrected, the pain will not go away, and you will continue needing those passive therapy techniques forever! A great example of identifying the root cause and treating using therapeutic exercise is seen in the video review below. I believe that my clients want and deserve full healing, not just temporary relief.

My goal with every client is to seek to identify and resolve the underlying factors, including the biomechanics, that led to their pain and/or injury. Because of this, my favorite treatment technique to use with my clients is therapeutic exercise. By working with my clients to help get better strength and control in their muscles, we can resolve the cause of the injury in the first place. PLUS – the best-kept secret about therapeutic exercise is that it can actually be an effective pain relief technique in and of itself!! How awesome is that? By teaching my clients appropriate exercises for their condition, I can help them manage their pain AND strengthen their body so that it can heal and overcome injury! Plus, this is pain management that doesn’t require drugs, needles, gadgets, or additional expense. They don’t even need to come into my office multiple times each week; just enough for me to check on their progress and adjust their exercises as they become stronger. Another added bonus is that in some cases it can be the start of more general exercise that they had not been doing before and can have a huge impact on their general health (See past blog for more discussion on this!)

I believe in this type of treatment because I have seen it work for so many of my clients. From the marathoner who hasn’t been able to run more than 10 miles in years due to knee pain, to the MMA fighter who was told he was facing shoulder surgery (he didn’t, by the way; PT has him back stronger than ever!), to the swimmer whose shoulder never quite recovered after rotator cuff surgery years ago – therapeutic exercise was the missing piece to helping them get back to doing what they love.

I use and recommend manual therapy and other passive treatments as tools to relieve pain and allow my client to begin to move, heal, and strengthen the affected area. But I never want my clients to become dependent on visits to my clinic, or even passive treatments done at home. I want you, and all my clients, to become healthy and strong so that those nagging injuries and pain are banished once and for all, setting you free to pursue your lifestyle and fitness goals!

So, which type of treatment would you prefer? 😉

If you are struggling with pain that is holding you back from the activities you enjoy, give me a call to schedule a FREE screening exam. I would love to discuss the issue with you and explore whether physical therapy might be the answer you are looking for.

Ankle sprains live at physioworks in huntsville alabama providing top ankle physical therapy

What we do if Ankle Sprains Are Slowing us Down!

If you read our recent blog on ankle sprains (link here) you might be wondering what to do practically. This ...
Read More
Ali Meeks of ReadSetSweat coach swimmer triathlete in the huntsville alabama are and partner with physioworks

Interview with Coach, Swimmer, and Triathlete, Ali Meeks of Ready Set Sweat

It's Time to ReadySetSweat - Swimming, Triathlon, Coaching, and Even a Book?! I interviewed local triathlon coach and all around ...
Read More
lateral ankle sprain is best treated by physical therapy in huntsville alabama at physioworks sports and wellness

Ankle sprains slowing you down?

Ankle Sprains Slowing You Down? When was the last time you rolled your ankle? The ankle sprain is such a ...
Read More
What should we do with stretching 2018 for athletes and in physical therapy in Huntsville Alabama

Stretching?! Should We Do It, If So When, And How Much?!

Stretching?! Should We Do It, If So When, And How Much?! This is a recent live video I shot talking ...
Read More
PhysioWorks live video of physical therapy for huntsville and madison alabama

Rotator Cuff Tears Live!

The video below is from a recent Facebook live that I did discussing rotator cuff tears and surgery. It covers ...
Read More
Rotator Cuff Tears do I have to get them fixed of can physical therapy help

Rotator Cuff Tears!

Table of Contents If you tear something in your body, does it always need to be fixed? Hearing the words, ...
Read More
Loading...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

google logoPhysioWorks, Sports and Wellness, Inc.PhysioWorks, Sports and Wellness, Inc.
5 Stars - Based on 33 User Reviews

facebook logoPhysioWorks, Sports and Wellness, Inc.PhysioWorks, Sports and Wellness, Inc.
5 Stars - Based on 13 User Reviews

Never miss a blog!

Andrew is amazingly gifted. He has helped me with various issues stemming from a life-long issue. I am now much better off than I have been in years and continue to work to strengthen myself under his care. We have recommended several friends and all have been thrilled. My family feels very fortunate to be able to work with Andrew and experience an improved quality of life. Consider your research over. Make an appointment, you will not regret it!

Matt Willauer Avatar Matt Willauer
9/17/2018

Dr. Walker, an incredibly knowledgeable and understanding physical therapist, has set the bar high when it comes to my expectations of the quality of medical care. He puts forth the effort to stay sharp by reading all of the current research publication material, and he has many quality connections for other medical services. His business model is very economical as you seem him once every month or two and are trusted to perform the exercises at home, although he is always available for advice over email. Further, he is listens attentively to your problems and does not come across as... read more

Cameron McWilliams Avatar Cameron McWilliams
2/23/2018

Andrew is a fantastic physical therapist, and I highly recommend him to everyone! I originally saw him for an impinged shoulder about 10 years ago in a traditional PT setting, and although I was very pleased with the results, the Physioworks practice model is a tremendous improvement over traditional PT. Andrew is able to provide more individual attention to his patients and work with them over a longer period of time to get better and more permanent results. Andrew has the gift of encouragement and focuses on educating his patients in the "why" of each exercise.

Sandy Grady Avatar Sandy Grady
7/25/2018