How is a Physical Therapist Different from a Chiropractor?

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How is a Physical Therapist Different from a Chiropractor?

Patients with musculoskeletal problems have the choice of going to either a therapist or visiting an Oceanside Chiropractor. Most of them just go to their usual doctors. Others look for specialty doctors, who in this case are chiropractors.

Should patients visit a therapist or a chiropractor?

Both of these professionals provide useful services depending on the musculoskeletal problem. The choice of a massage therapist, physical therapist, or chiropractor depends on a number of factors especially the nature of the problem to be corrected. To know which professional to visit, it is important to understand the differences between them.

Physical therapists and chiropractors have various similarities. They go through a similar type of education that requires them to undergo many years of training although residency is a must for physical therapists. Another similarity is they both have to pass board or licensing exams. So, what is the difference between these professionals?

Focus and Extent of Treatment

The two professionals also differ based on the extent and focus of the treatment they provide.
Mostly, a chiropractor will either adjust or manipulate perceived spine subluxations. They focus on this kind of treatment until the patient is completely well. Many times, the patient has to see a chiropractor for several weeks or months.

Chiropractors rely on X-rays. A physical therapist, on the other hand, does not depend on X-rays. Instead, the therapist evaluates the patient for around 30-40 minutes. Afterward, the therapist develops an individualized treatment plan for the patient based on the evaluation. They evaluate general mobility, balance, posture, strength, body mechanics, flexibility, coordination, motion range, and endurance.

The treatment plans the therapist develops often includes:
a) Soft tissue mobilization
b) Spine mobilization

Other than those, the therapist will recommend specific exercises that improve the patient’s flexibility and strength. The exercises will also help in stabilizing the spine and are perfect for training the patient on right posture and improving ergonomics. Finally, therapists train patients on how to boost body mechanics for preventing pain from recurring.

Goal/Objective of Treatment

The other main area of difference is the goal or objective of the treatment.
A chiropractor’s objective is to restore stability and proper function of the spine and to improve posture by realigning the spine, relieving tension, and relaxing muscles. Mostly, chiropractors treat the following:
a) Neck pain
b) Back pain
c) Headaches
d) Pain in the leg, arms, and joints

The hands-on approach they use hinges in examining, diagnosing, and treating patients.
Generally, a physical therapist seeks to empower patients to learn to take care of themselves. Their main aim is to restore movement and function often after injury, or when affected by certain diseases. They also aim to improve mobility in patients affected by age. Their work is considered successful when patients experience improvement and/or restoration of mobility, balance, range of motion, and strength.

Therefore, the next time you need treatment you should be able to determine whether a chiropractor is your best bet or a physical therapist. Many times, you’ll need both of them to provide the complete treatment you need to be well again.

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