Chiropractic versus Physical Therapy


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The differences between chiropractic treatment and physical therapy are a relatively common topic of discussion among professionals and patients alike. Often, it is rather unclear where these two areas of body care vary and where they cross over, which makes it quite difficult for patients trying to decide which of the therapies to undertake.

Key differences

Chiropractors tend to specialise in the physical manipulation of the bones (especially the spine) to try and improve the overall functioning of the joints as well as the nervous system. They are probably best known for working on the lower back region to relieve patients of pain and discomfort, however, recently they are becoming more popular with people seeking relief form other ailments including headaches and asthma. Most patients of chiropractors visit them for treatment on a regular basis (often once every month or so) to try and be rid of their issues in the long-term. The actual method of treatment performed by a chiropractor is often noted as being aggressive as it involved forceful, physical adjustment of bones.

Alternatively, physical therapists concentrate more on treating locomotion (moving/mobility) issues. These may be a result of an injury or just a general dysfunction that has appeared over time. Physical therapists tend to employ exercise, education about the muscles and posture as well as manual techniques throughout their treatment and to provide lifetime improvements. In general, attendance for physical therapy is much more frequent than that required for chiropractic treatment. Many patients are required to undergo physical therapy sessions a couple of times each week. However, the overall duration of these sessions is often shorter than in chiropractic care. Most patients are only required to see a physical therapist for about six weeks to improve their body’s functioning whilst lowering the amount of pain.

Which treatment is appropriate?

It is relatively important that someone understands the key differences between chiropractic care and physical therapy before deciding which line of treatment to go for. This ensures that they are attending the correct type of therapy session to relieve their problem the most appropriately and effectively. At first, if you suffer from an acute injury you should attend sessions with a physical therapist. However, if you then find that this route of treatment is not effective enough, you should look for a chiropractor that may be able to help you further. This chiropractor can then employ their more aggressive treatments to try and manipulate the area affected and improve its functioning. However, with acute injuries, this should be a last resort as the aggressive nature may cause more damage to the wound.


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