Physical Therapists vs. Chiropractors: Differences

Chiropractors and physical therapists are licensed professionals who treat stiffness, chronic body pains, and other body discomforts through various treatment plans. Both professionals aim to increase a patient’s mobility, flexibility, and quality of life. Due to their similarities, it can be tricky to figure out which to opt for when seeking an injury treatment in Spartanburg.

Knowing the difference between these two professions will help you choose a more suitable treatment option for your condition when seeking pain relief. Therefore, this article will explore salient differences between these professions and the benefits they offer.

Who Are Chiropractors?

When you consider chiropractic care, what comes to mind are back issues and bone-cracking solutions. However, chiropractic care goes way beyond that. Chiropractors are healthcare professionals focused on issues relating to neuromuscular disorders.

When chiropractors offer injury treatment in Spartanburg, they aim to restore and re-align the body to minimize pain caused by misaligned vertebrae and pulled or pinched nerves.

Chiropractors follow the philosophy that the body can heal itself with non-invasive intervention. Therefore, chiropractors focus on manual and natural healing methods rather than medication and surgeries. They carry out these treatments through a practice known as chiropractic manipulations and adjustments which requires the manual manipulation of the spine.

Chiropractors treat issues like sciatica, neck pain, tension headaches, vertigo, lower back pain, etc. Additionally, chiropractors are experts in the nervous system and spine health. Therefore, they undergo extensive training to treat spinal issues.

Chiropractors holistically offer treatments and can recommend nutrition and lifestyle changes to you, like exercises, diet, etc. With minor chiropractic adjustments in addition to a holistic approach to lifestyle and nutrition, they can heal the pain in your back and other connecting areas.

Usually, when you seek a session with a chiropractor, you can expect the following:

  • An assessment and diagnosis of the issue. Sometimes, you’re required to get tests or an x-ray done.
  • Chiropractic manipulation and adjustment
  • A treatment and prevention plan customized to your need.

Finally, the speed at which you get results from this treatment depends on the intensity of your condition and the number of sessions attended.

Who Are Physical Therapists?

Just like chiropractors, physical therapists work with their hands. They also focus on treating injuries and disorders by achieving normal body functions and mobilizations without surgery or medicines. For example, they work with patients to restore muscle movements after a traumatic event or accident.

Physical therapists use stretching, exercising, and many more mobilization techniques to achieve their goals. They are also known as movement experts and focus on ensuring patients regain regular, pain-free movements.

They work with various people with different issues and help treat repetitive movement injuries, joint swelling, sports injuries, tendon damage, etc. These physiotherapists could also assist in pre and post-operative rehabilitation. Sometimes, they help to fix developmental delays in children.

Physical therapists utilize massage, stretching, and exercises like taping, joint mobilization, and more to heal and restore movement after an injury. Some physical therapists also prescribe electrical and physical aids to their clients.

Sometimes physiotherapists use a holistic approach to injury treatment in Spartanburg. For example, they combine mobilization, manipulation, and massage techniques to get results.

A typical session with a physical therapist includes the following:

  • Assessing and diagnosing the patient’s issue based on medical history
  • Setting recovery goals
  • Creating a treatment and prevention plan
  • Recommending exercise and physical aides as needed

3 Differences Between a Chiropractor and a Physical Therapist

Although these two professions seem the same, several factors set them apart. Some of these differences may include the following:

  • Roles and Responsibilities

Although there’s a lot of crossover between the two professions, the focus lies in each job’s focus. For example, physical therapists often focus on treating sports and work injuries.

They also treat post-operative challenges and, sometimes, stroke effects. When doctors refer patients to physical therapists, it is to treat specific issues like increasing mobility after ankle surgery or regaining core strength after pregnancy.

On the other hand, chiropractors are focused on treating the whole body versus one region. As a result, they are often focused on helping patients with back pain and can alleviate issues that don’t seem to be related to the spine, like insomnia and tension headaches.

Chiropractors don’t just remove the pain; they’re also releasing the pressure on the nervous system. This way, the body can heal itself and begin to function better.

  • Method of Assessment

Another difference between a chiropractor and a physical therapist lies in their assessment method. When patients seek injury treatment in Spartanburg from a physical therapist or a chiropractor, they assess their condition differently.

A chiropractor sometimes orders an X-ray to examine the bone anatomy or tests that can help them guide treatments. On the other hand, physical therapists focus on your medical history and their clinical examination to make treatment decisions. Therefore, physical therapists do not rely on diagnostic imaging to guide their treatment process.

  • Treatment Philosophies

Chiropractors focus on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, which include tendons, joints, muscles, and functions. In addition, they focus on spine alignment and manipulations to heal pain and inflammation. Again, sometimes, a chiropractor recommends massages and other lifestyle and dietary changes once they evaluate your symptoms.

They improve the function of the nervous system by relying on spinal manipulations, laser techniques, etc., to solve a patient’s pain-related problems. Chiropractic care has also been discovered to help with anxiety and depression as it helps patients find the balance between mind and body. Chiropractic adjustments also help trigger the release of positive hormones like cortisol and oxytocin that could ease depression and anxiety.

Alternatively, a physical therapist focuses on restoring mobility, strength, and body function. They usually develop a wellness plan and suggest postures, exercises, hands-on manipulations, therapies, and other ways to avoid injuries and pain.

A physical therapist helps patients with restricted movement due to injuries, surgeries, accidents, or health conditions. They’re also helpful in strength building by developing a personalized plan for patients undergoing rehabilitation due to various diseases and conditions like Parkinson’s, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, stroke, and multiple sclerosis.

Get the Best Injury Treatment in Spartanburg From Carolina Spine and Pain Center

Both chiropractic care and physical therapy help patients manage pain and other issues through non-invasive techniques. Their methods are hands-on and help to treat various conditions. If you’re experiencing pain or struggle to move around, you should speak with your doctor about whether you need physical therapy or chiropractic care in Spartanburg, SC.

We utilize a holistic approach to treating pains and disorders at Carolina Spine and Pain Center. Our goal is to discover the underlying cause of your problem and then create a custom treatment plan focused on alleviating your pain and improving the quality of your life.

We’ll also make recommendations based on the assessment of your condition. Contact us to book an appointment for chiropractic care in Spartanburg today.