As a physical therapy clinic, we hear this question all the time: “is physical therapy better or is chiropractic better?”
The word “better” is highly subjective, but generally what people mean by this is “which one is gonna stop my pain?” That too can be hard to determine, since both physical therapy and chiropractic are medical treatments all about reducing pain.
So today, we’re going to answer that question the best we can. Both fields have their advantages, goals, and methodologies that make them unique.
The Difference Between Physical Therapists and Chiropractors
There is a lot of overlap in what physical therapists and chiropractors aim to treat – for example, both are very focused on pain relief.
However, the primary difference is in approach, focus, and treatment. Physical therapy is focused on how the body moves and functions as a whole, whereas traditional chiropractic care is focused on issues related to the spine. Additionally, physical therapists use a variety of treatment options, which include strategies to reduce pain initially and utilizing exercise and independence as the backbone of the treatment philosophy. While chiropractic traditionally focuses on spinal manipulation as the basis and, oftentimes, sole treatment strategy. A chiropractor may consider the rest of the body and have knowledge of other treatment options, however chiropractic is centered around a practice of manipulating the body (usually focused on the back and neck) to treat pain.
Another key differentiator is in ongoing treatment. With chiropractic, your chiropractor may suggest some stretches or other treatments at home to support your chiropractic care, but you need to visit them for spinal adjustments, the core of their service. Physical therapists are much more likely to give you an action plan of mobility and targeted strengthening exercises to do at home, in addition to the treatments provided at a physical therapy session. The goal with the latter is to keep up momentum from your sessions.
Which Is Better for Back Pain: Physical Therapy or Chiropractic?
We’re a physical therapy clinic, so obviously we’re going to recommend physical therapy for any back pain – let’s be honest about that! However, there are some cases where chiropractic can be beneficial.
If you’re trying to weigh your options between the two, consider a few factors. Because physical therapy is aimed at the entire body and form, it works best for treating long-term, recurring pain as well as follow-up directly after a surgery or other medical procedure. At PRO Therapy, we also utilize spinal manipulation frequently with low back pain conditions if appropriate. However, this is just subset of our treatment approach which will also include reducing the frequency of your pain coming back again with other manual therapy and exercise. Chiropractic can help relieve back pain, especially in the short-term. However, the goal of chiropractic is not to treat the entire body, but to instead target the immediate cause of pain to reduce pain quickly. For some cases, this works well and is effective. In others, however, the pain can return after time because the root cause of the problem is not being addressed.
If you’re looking to resolve back pain, here are some examples that might help you decide who to visit:
- Are you experiencing acute pain after a specific action – like “sleeping wrong,” lifting heavy boxes, or sitting too long? A chiropractor may help eliminate or reduce this immediate, sharp pain. At PRO, we also specialize in acute pain management with a variety of techniques such as dry needling, spinal manipulation, cupping, and exercise.
- Do you have chronic back pain? A PRO Therapy physical therapist can do a thorough examination and ongoing treatment plan.
- Have you just had surgery? A PRO Therapy physical therapist will create a plan alongside your doctor to ensure your injury heals properly and is supported with your treatment plan.
- Is your pain interfering with your ability to do activities? PRO Therapy should be your next stop so that you’re not only eliminating the pain, but also regaining mobility and function.
Both physical therapy and chiropractic can be useful in addressing back pain. When trying to decide the right solution for your pain, knowing the differences between them and their end goals will help you make that decision.
Physical Therapy With PRO Therapy
At PRO Therapy you will always experience precise, caring, and one on one care from a Licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy – no tech aides, no rehab assistants, no personal trainers – to help you decrease pain by the time you walk out the door of your first session and create a plan to adhere to going forward.
If you want to make physical therapy a success, partnering with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy is going to help you avoid future pain and resolve current pain.
We Love to Help People:
- Keep Active – So you can run after your kids all day, take your grandchildren to the park with ease, enjoy a nice round of golf, run or walk anytime that suits you.
- Stay Free From Painkillers – So you’re not always reaching in the cupboard for pills to ease the pain whenever it strikes, getting only a “quick fix” when you need a “permanent fix” – PLUS they’re no good for your long-term health, “mask” the pain and certainly don’t actually do anything to fix the problem.
- Avoid Dangerous Injections/Surgery – We’ll help you get to the root cause of what’s going on – so you don’t have to get to the point of having to face injections or surgery.
- Found Out What’s Wrong – We’ll help give you peace of mind and ensure that your problem is “corrected” and “healed” properly – also give you a set of exercises perfectly catered to you to help speed up recovery.
- Get More Enjoyment Out Of Life – So you can enjoy quality time with family and friends that your daily aches and pains steal from you – also finally get a good night of sleep without constantly tossing and turning.
Read Now: Why Our Physical Therapy Team Are Amazing (And What They Have Taught Me)
Are you ready to make physical therapy work for you? Give us a call! We offer complimentary phone and in-person consultations. We aim to meet our patients wherever they are in their journey and answer all questions we can to ensure a smooth experience at PRO Therapy. We want to help you make the best decision for you!
PRO Therapy is an Independently Owned Orthopedic Physical Therapy Clinic. At PRO Therapy, we treat back, knee, neck/shoulder, ankle/foot, and hip pain as well as sports injuries, surgery rehabilitation, and anything else that’s causing you pain. We want everyone to have exceptional care, better access to care and be able to complete the activities in life that make them happy – free from a life of painkillers, injections, or surgeries.