Chiropractic Care vs. Physical Therapy

December 2, 2020

When handling acute and chronic pain it is very important to look for an expert to help remedy and treat your condition. With so many choices available, many individuals find it difficult to choose which kind of medical professional to visit.

Some of the most recommended professionals that treat neck pain, whiplash, migraines, sports injuries, or persistent back pain are chiropractors and physical therapist. To the typical person, a physical therapist and a chiropractor may seem very similar. While there is some crossover between the two medical fields, they are rather different and each of them offer unique benefits.

So what's really the difference between a chiropractor and a physical therapist? Here's a closer look at the main distinctions between the two medical fields to help you decide which is right for you.

Chiropractic Care versus Physical Therapy
By definition, chiropractors are holistic health specialists who use a hands-on manipulation approach to fix spinal misalignments (subluxations) so that the nervous system can be completely aligned with the entire body. This alleviates pain and discomfort by treating the musculoskeletal system, including your bones, muscles, cartilage, joints, and tendons.

On the other hand, physical therapist (PT) are health care specialist who use rehabilitative treatment modalities that enhance mobility and alleviate pain through prescribed exercises, hands-on treatments, and client education. Patients are given an optimized recovery plan that helps them to function normally again and get back to their daily routine after an injury, surgery, or a dibillitating disease.

How do their methods differ?
· Treatment techniques and strategies
· Types of conditions treated
· Types of patients cared for

Treatment Methods
Chiropractors view the human body as a holistic, interconnected system that can repair itself. The body is thought to undergo tremendous pressure that can result in spinal misalignments. These subluxations can apply stess on the bodies nervous system, leading to persistent pain and discomfort.

After assessing the paitent's condition, the chiropractor will use a non-invasive, hands-on treatment to align the spinal column's vertebrae, allowing the nervous system and the musculoskeletal body to be in sync. In this manner, the body can heal itself from different disorders such as:

· Back and neck pain
· Sciatica pain
· Sports injuries
· Whiplash and other automobile injuries
· Carpal tunnel syndrome
· Chronic headaches and migraines
· Arthritis

On the other hand, physical therapists identify physical abnormalities and movement disorders in patients and devise a personalized rehab plan to help them get back their strength, balance, and movement. Physical therapist help individuals improve the quality of their life in the following methods:

· Rehabilitation plans to increase mobility and functionality
· Help speed up recovery after surgery
· Improves mobility and flexibility after a sports injury
· Help in recovery after a stroke or multiple sclerosis
· Improve mobility on individuals with physical handicaps
· Reduce lower back and neck pain

Chiropractors need to complete a bachelor's degree that takes around 4 to 5 years to complete, then go to a chiropractic school for 5 years and then do a 1-year residency program. This makes up for about 10 years in school.

For one to become a physical therapist, they need to complete a 4-year undergraduate program and earn a bachelor's degree. Then one needs to apply to 30 week physical therapy internship program. The overall time in school is about 7 years.

Medical Licensing and Certification
Chiropractors need to pass the National Board Test (NDCE) to become a licensed specialist. While physical therapists take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for licensing and accreditation.

Scientific know-how
Physical Therapist are specialists in repairing movement and functionality-related procedures, while chiropractic doctors are experts in optimizing the body through spinal adjustments and manipulation to treat the source of an individual's pain. 

Chiropractic care or physical therapy?
The above info will assist you in choosing whether to see a chiropractic specialist or a physical therapist if you're having problems related to your musculoskeletal system. While these health care specialists use different treatment methods, they serve the same objective: getting you healed and improving your quality of life. What it really comes down to is the type of treatment your body needs.

Learn more about Palmercare Chiropractic in Falls Church, VA

Learn more about Chiropractic Care