Which is Better – A Chiropractor or A Physiotherapist?
The honest answer to this question is that both types of practitioner are useful and effective, but which one is better suited to your current needs depends on what’s going on with your body. Oftentimes, the best option is actually to use the two in conjunction with each other. Many times, a chiropractor will be required to treat the initial injury or onset of chronic symptoms, but in order to rehabilitate the injury fully or to remove the aggravating conditions that cause chronic issues, you will need to seek longer term treatment from a physiotherapist.
The main difference between the two is that a chiropractor traditionally uses manipulation of the spine and limbs, whereas a physiotherapist will more commonly use mobilization techniques and rehabilitation exercises. The two practices are typically best when used together and your practitioners consider themselves a team in your rehabilitation.
Chiropractors will generally treat pain and altered body alignment related problems using manipulation of the joints (adjustments), either of the spine or the limbs. Manipulation is a fast manual technique that takes the joints being treated to the end of their available range of motion.
Chiropractors can also use soft tissues techniques, stretching, strengthening and rehab techniques.
Physiotherapists specialize in the diagnosis, management and prevention of movement disorders.The aim of physiotherapy is to rehabilitate and improve a person’s ability to move and function by looking at the interaction between your muscular, skeletal and nervous systems to see what could be contributing to your issue. Then they look at what aspects of your sports, work or recreational life that may also be contributing.
Physiotherapists can use hands on techniques for mobilization of joints or massage for release of tight muscle or connective tissue. They also use an individualized exercise program to maintain the improvements and gains reached throughout treatment.
If your back or joints feel locked, stiff and sore or maybe haven’t responded to other treatments, then a consultation with a chiropractor is recommended.
Soft tissue problems are more commonly treated by physiotherapists as well as joint and muscular problems which are restricting movement and causing pain.
Usually, a short consultation over the phone will first determine whether you are best to see a physiotherapist or chiropractor. Remember, the first priority is to just get yourself examined professionally and your practitioner will advise which treatment is best for your condition and will refer you accordingly. Both disciplines will also give exercises and advice to help manage injuries and medical conditions and are often found working together in multidisciplinary clinics so you can seamlessly work with one or both options.
Regardless which therapist you end up choosing, remember that you have to feel comfortable with the treatment and go with what works for you. It is also prudent to choose a multidisciplinary clinic like ours so that your practitioners can share information, collaborate and can ask advice of each other onsite so they can guide you and refer you as needed during your rehab process.