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What are the similarities between physical therapy and chiropractic care?

Aug 18

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy refers to various medical treatments that restore flexibility, mobility, strength, and other body parts that might need extra attention. In addition, physical therapy is concerned with movement impairments and other related conditions. Physical therapy centers often help patients with injuries and weakness and recover from surgery.

Physical therapy (also known as physiotherapy) is a form of medical care that treats patients using methods that complement each other as mobility improves. Most therapies will restore range of motion and flexibility and build strength as the care progresses. Additional services may be offered by some facilities depending on their specializations.

Rehabilitation from an injury often involves physical therapy. The injury could be caused by athletic endeavors, car accidents, faulty stairs, or other life experiences. Physical therapy may need to be started if the trauma is severe enough. Physical therapy aims to restore mobility and function. Usually, it focuses on one or two areas of the body.

A Doctorate in Physical Therapy can be earned in 7 years. There are many specializations that therapists can choose from depending on their interests and availability. The Federation of the State Boards of Physical Therapy must pass the National Physical Therapy Exam. The state where the care is to be provided will handle licensing.


What is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care is designed to lower pressure, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, align the spine, and bring healing to the whole body. Chiropractic work aims to align the musculoskeletal system naturally and draw the patient's spine. Chiropractic care is focused on solving mechanical problems found throughout the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems.

Chiropractic adjustments and other specialized treatments are used to heal. Clients may also be treated with ultrasound, decompression, muscle stimulation, exercise instruction, or the addition of nutrients.

Retraining the neuromuscular system helps the brain recognize and interpret signals sent throughout the body. This reduces the possibility of incorrect pain transmission signals. However, even after an injury is healed, the body may still believe it needs to transmit pain signals. As a result, people suffering from chronic pain might be interested in care that can help to reduce the pain that has long since stopped.

Chiropractic does not just focus on the spine but also offers holistic care that includes other conditions that patients might have. Asthma, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraines are just a few of the other ailments that chiropractic patients can treat. In addition, chiropractic can also treat degenerative and inflammatory pain conditions.

Many tasks in chiropractic care are very similar to those in physical therapy. Both types of care include mobility, strength, and safe, healthy movements. However, chiropractic is a holistic approach that examines the whole person and seeks to address any underlying causes.

Chiropractic care can also help to reduce the chance of developing chronic pain or re-injury. The goal is to prevent chronic pain from developing after an injury (car accident, sports injury). This is to stop pain from returning later. Chiropractic care may be a better option for chronic pain sufferers.

It takes to earn a Doctorate in Chiropractic is usually 6-8 years, depending on how many courses you take. Doctors can choose to specialize based on their interests and resources. Candidates must pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. In each state where the candidate provides care, licensure is required.


Some Similarities between Chiropractors and Physical Therapists

Both candidates in the two fields may want to incorporate pediatrics, occupational, or other related issues into their work. While a chiropractor may specialize in physical therapy or other related fields, a physical therapist candidate will not be able to choose chiropractic as a specialization. After obtaining the degree, each individual must continue to learn.

Many misconceptions revolve around chiropractic's absence of medication. The history of physical therapy has been closer to traditional medical practices. Physical therapy might be more closely associated with medication use in specific locations. However, physical therapists often try to avoid medication.

Only rarely will chiropractic care use medication. Instead, the body's knowledge and how it functions is what is used in chiropractic care.

Because both techniques work to heal the identical human body, they are similar. Training and knowledge are also similar. Chiropractic tends not to focus on the root causes but rather seeks to heal the whole body. Physical therapy tends to be more focused on specific parts of the body. Both physical therapy and chiropractic practitioners might prefer to use a holistic approach in providing care.

Additional care options at both centers include ultrasound, stimulation, traction, strength training, and exercise instruction. For each type of facility to provide complete care, it will likely take several visits. Each location will have its multidisciplinary approach.


Treatment Philosophy

Physical therapists and chiropractors have different ways of treating pain and other symptoms. A chiropractor focuses on conditions that affect the nervous system and musculoskeletal system. The effects of these conditions on the body are also important to the chiropractor.

A chiropractor can treat headaches, back pain, sciatica, neck pain, and other common conditions. Chiropractic doctors use hands-on techniques, including examination, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. Chiropractic doctors use their expertise in diagnosing to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative tools, such as spinal manipulation.

On the other hand, a physical therapist uses a treatment philosophy that involves assessment, diagnosis, and treatment to restore movement and function. This includes strength and balance, as well as a range in motion. A physical therapist will develop a personalized rehabilitation plan based on the cause of the injury, illness, age, or environmental factors.



A Doctor of Chiropractic degree is required for chiropractors. The doctor of chiropractic program usually takes six to eighteen years. The curriculum for a doctor of chiropractic education includes classroom instruction in anatomy, physiology, and biology. The controlled clinical training period allows students to learn techniques, assessment, and spinal adjustment.

Some chiropractors pursue postgraduate programs that lead to additional certifications and credentials after graduation. These programs provide additional training in particular areas such as orthopedics and pediatrics. Some may opt to pursue a master's in a related field, such as sports rehab.

A Doctorate in Physical Therapy is required to become a licensed physical therapist. The program is seven years long. It includes approximately three thousand five hundred hours of instruction, followed by four years of undergraduate and three years of physical therapy school. Students are expected to do a 30-week internship. They will also need to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam.


Clinical Expertise

Chiropractic doctors are experts in spinal manipulation and adjustment. This includes soft tissue mobilization and joint adjustment. Chiropractors use their nervous and musculoskeletal system knowledge to create exercise programs and therapeutic modalities that treat the underlying problem. This could be back pain, neck discomfort, or other issues.

A chiropractor will use facts to support the treatment plan, diagnosis, and adjustment of subluxations. A chiropractor's education also gives them a thorough knowledge of neurology, radiology, and general medicine.

Chiropractors are familiar with pediatrics, orthosis, sports medicine, and forensic sciences.

Physical therapists can help people move and re-establish movement-related skills. Their knowledge extends to general medicine and chiropractic care. Physical therapists use manual therapy, soft tissue mobilization, muscle coordination, and neurological rehabilitation to treat patients.

A physical therapist diagnoses functional, musculoskeletal, and movement conditions. Physical therapists may practice in the following areas: clinical electrophysiology and pulmonary, cardiovascular, neurology and pediatrics.

A chiropractor is different from a physical therapist because a physical therapist gives patients the tools to take care of themselves through a home exercise program. A chiropractor might also use home exercise to help with some of their treatment plans.