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Physical Therapy vs. Chiropractic Care
We all sometimes have minor aches, pains, bumps, and bruises that we can heal at home with Advil and a little rest. But more extensive injuries should be treated by a medical professional. Sometimes that means casts, surgeries, or bed rest. Other times, people need to take more of an active role in their healing with a physical therapist or chiropractor.
But how do you know if a chiropractor or physical therapist is right for your injury?
The process starts with understanding what each type of practitioner does.
Physical therapists are experts in movement, and their goal is to restore or improve your physical function through exercise. They typically approach the body as one large unit. If you visit a physical therapist with knee pain, they will likely also examine your back, hips, and ankles to determine if they are contributing to the problem. Then, they will develop a treatment plan to reduce pain and rebuild strength, flexibility, and mobility over weeks or months.
Chiropractors treat neuromuscular disorders by realigning the body to alleviate pain, primarily in the back and neck. Much of this realignment consists of the “bone-cracking” many people associate with chiropractic care. These adjustments can sound brutal, but they usually consist of small, gentle, and highly specific manipulations of the spine. In addition to adjustments, chiropractors may make lifestyle recommendations regarding diet, exercise, and other habits.
The two approaches to healing have many similarities. Both take a holistic approach to pain and injuries. When you see either one for back pain, they will try to understand why and treat the underlying cause rather than the symptoms. Chiropractors and physical therapists both have doctorates in their field of study. The two practices also have a very hands-on approach to treatment, and many of their techniques will look similar to the untrained eye.
But there are key differences. Chiropractors often do not treat conditions outside of the back and neck, and some sell dietary supplements that make other medical professionals skeptical. Meanwhile, physical therapy requires more active participation by the patient through exercise during visits and at home.
The best treatment will depend on the type of injury and its cause, so ask your doctor for their opinion. Some people also seek both types of care to determine which produces better results. There is no universal “right” answer — just the one that works best for you,” shares Marietta Accident Attorney Ramiro Rodriguez, Jr.