For those who experience physical pain or have limited mobility, choosing between chiropractors and physical therapists could be confusing. Each of these manual therapies has its benefits, but they also have differences that can affect their effectiveness for specific patients. Both practices focus on helping patients gain a better quality of life.
Each therapy type is considered holistic healing and can be helpful in helping patients avoid surgery. Learn more about what chiropractors and physical therapists do in this blog.
Chiropractors Focus On Subluxations
Subluxations are partial dislocations in the body. They typically occur in a joint and this is what a majority of people seek chiropractic care for. These dislocations and other misalignments of the body and spine can lead to significant pain.
While many people think that chiropractors just crack backs, there is a lot more that goes into this natural healing process. Chiropractors are knowledgeable about the health of your spine and how to treat it without causing further damage.
The overall goal of chiropractic treatment is to help limit inflammation, help patients better manage pain, and give them a better range of motion.
Education Is Required For Both Chiropractors And Physical Therapists
No matter if you are looking into a chiropractor or a physical therapist, each provider needs education, training, and certifications in order to work with patients. This ensures that they understand bodily anatomy, how the joints and muscles work together, and that they don’t further injure patients.
Chiropractors and physical therapists require a college degree and certifications to practice. In certain states, there may be additional courses or certifications that allow them to work on children or pregnant mothers.
Chiropractors: Focus On Nerves, Vertebrae, and Spinal Cord
Each profession has a different approach to healing. This does not make one better than the other, but depending on your needs, one might be better for your specific situation. Chiropractors focus on your spine and the nervous system that works with your spine. Your body is made up of many interconnected systems, so when one system is blocked or stifled, other parts of your body can suffer as well.
Chiropractors work to limit inflammation that can cause blocks, and align your spine so that your spine can communicate with the brain. They also focus on restoring movement. Because chiropractors have a holistic approach, they also encourage patients to improve their diet and lifestyle while seeking chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractic treatments can be more effective when paired with spinal decompression, especially for spinal disc conditions such as bulging or herniated discs. Spinal decompression therapy, which uses slow, controlled stretching to ease pressure on spinal discs, can even help you avoid the need for surgery.
Non-surgical decompression therapy helps restore the spine to its proper state and releases tension by using a sophisticated machine that calculates the correct amount of force to use by sensing muscle resistance.
Elevate Wellness also offers laser decompression therapy, which uses light energy to penetrate damaged tissue in the muscles and spine, stimulating the body’s natural healing capabilities. By healing inflammation, you may experience a greater range of motion and decreased pain.
Physical Therapists: Focus On Soft Tissue And Muscles
Chiropractors and physical therapists work with their hands, but physical therapists focus more on muscles and soft tissue, rather than systems in the body. They also work to improve mobility but use stretches, exercises, and other mobilization techniques. Many physical therapists use tape, heat, ice, and electric physical aids for their clients.
Physical therapists also help patients to avoid injury in the future. By providing stretching and mobility techniques to people like athletes, their bodies will be better prepared for rigorous activity and can make potential injuries much less severe.
Different Approaches To Treatment
While both chiropractors and physical therapists can use their hands in treatment, physical therapists often rely more on machines or other physical aids during treatment. Each therapy type has developed over time and continues to adopt new practices and tested treatments that they feel can help their patients.
Before you see any chiropractor or physical therapist, make sure to check their credentials and do as much research as possible. This will ensure you get the best treatment for your specific pain.
The two treatment approaches go hand in hand, and you may have to try both before determining which is best for you. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment options are likely to be most effective for your specific condition or symptoms.
Chiropractic With Elevate Wellness
Our chiropractor at Elevate Wellness has seen how chiropractic care can help after an injury. Dr. Casey Simmonds then started his own journey to become a chiropractor and opened his own practice.
In addition to standard chiropractic adjustments, Elevate Wellness offers specialty care in these areas:
Close to 90% of athletes utilize chiropractic care to increase performance and treat and prevent injuries. Sports therapy at Elevate Wellness can correct misaligned joints, which helps injuries heal quicker and prevent new injuries from occurring.
Neuropathy is a nerve condition that causes numbness and tingling. Unlike medication, which only masks the pain and does not repair the underlying nerve damage, chiropractic adjustments help heal the nerves, leading to greater pain relief.
Prenatal and Pediatric Chiropractic
Chiropractic care can help ease pain caused by changes in the body during pregnancy and help expecting mothers stay comfortable. Additionally, some patients report smoother, shorter labor and delivery processes after receiving spinal and pelvic adjustments.
Infants and children can also benefit from chiropractic care. By making gentle adjustments, chiropractors can help young patients find relief from colic, reflux, digestive issues, or ear infections and can even help regulate their nervous system by making sure their spine is properly aligned.