Physical Therapist VS Chiropractor: Differences Explained

Physical therapist working with a patient

Physical Therapist VS Chiropractor: Differences Explained

If you suffer from chronic pain or an injury that results in ongoing pain, you’re likely to hear of two possible solutions—physical therapists or chiropractors.


Both of these specialists are often recommended for similar situations, but their jobs are dramatically different, and the results you can expect are different, as well.


Today, we’re going to compare a physical therapist VS a chiropractor service to help you understand what the right solution is for your situation.


Let’s get started.


What is a Chiropractor?


A chiropractor is a licensed specialist, and they focus on the alignment of various skeletal sections. Typically, they’re highly recommended for spinal pain and chronic pain stemming from the spine, but limbs can also receive chiropractic treatment. Think of it as the advanced version of popping your back.


This is usually done with precise movements while the patient is in a relaxed state. The patient doesn’t take an active role in their treatment, and results are provided solely by the specialist’s skillset.


This has some benefits.


First, it’s an outpatient service that doesn’t take much time. You schedule an appointment, show up, and treatments are typically finished within a matter of minutes after your first visit. The first visit can take up to an hour due to the need for paperwork and consultation before treatment is provided.


Then, there’s the fact that relief is almost immediately provided. If you’re receiving chiropractic treatment for the right reasons, you should walk out with some degree of relief every time you go.


Chiropractic care also doesn’t try to change your life outside of the treatment. You go, you receive treatment, and you go on with your life.


However, that doesn’t mean that chiropractic care is the best option, or even a good option in some cases.


While chiropractic care is in an outpatient office setting, it’s not a standardized medical treatment in other settings. You don’t have many options for finding insurance that covers it, most sports clubs don’t provide it or have specialists on hand, etc. It’s a service you’ll seek out on your own and pay for.


Also, while treatment typically provides very fast results, those results aren’t long-lasting. You have to continue going to a chiropractor indefinitely in most cases. It doesn’t resolve the issue.

On top of that, a chiropractor doesn’t give you the tools to manage any ongoing pain for yourself. If you like the results you’re getting, you have to keep going back.


In some cases, this can be a great solution. Such as when you are suffering from something that won’t go away and there’s not much you can do about it.


Retired patient receives chiropractic care for back discomfort


What is a Physical Therapist?


A physical therapist is similar to a chiropractor. Their job is to help you get over the pain and recover from injuries. However, they take a much different approach.


Where a chiropractor provides a service based on fast results, a physical therapist’s goal is typically to address the root issue.


This means that it might not be an immediate solution, but over time, you will start to see results that don’t go away. By addressing the root problem, the issue can be resolved entirely in many cases.


In situations where the problem simply can’t be addressed at its root and will remain persistent in the foreseeable future, physical therapists don’t just get you to come in for indefinite treatment. Instead, they take the approach of a teacher.


A physical therapist will not only try to relieve your pain during treatment, but they’ll also teach you exercises and practices you can do at home to relieve your pain, continue improving your results, etc.


This means that even if your issue can’t be resolved in the short term, you can still experience long-term relief without indefinite appointments. Even if you’ll eventually be just fine, learning these basic at-home treatments helps prepare you for any injuries that occur in the future.


Most of this stems from the core foundation of physical therapy being focused on mobility and flexibility while triggering the body’s natural healing response. It consists of a lot of targeted stretches and exercises that help rebuild the body rather than just relieve symptoms of a bigger issue.


That focus also helps make physical therapy suitable for a wider range of patients. It’s not just for people who suffer major injuries. Athletes use it to recover faster, the elderly use it to regain their balance and mobility as they age, and lots of people use physical therapy after surgery to help them heal faster and regain full mobility.


Finally, physical therapists are often part of a larger source of help. Not only will you find them in a variety of fields, such as sports programs, schools, hospitals, and more, but they are often part of a team. This means that you’ll usually get more in-depth guidance in a variety of aspects. Not just stretches and exercises.


Oftentimes, you’ll have access to a dietitian who can help you redevelop your diet habits to facilitate a healthier life, gain access to different types of physical therapy more focused on your situation, and more.


Physiotherapist doing manual therapy exercise


Physical Therapist VS Chiropractor: The Best Choice for You


When comparing aphysical therapist VS a chiropractor, in most cases, physiotherapy provides more benefits.


It’s not as fast, and you will be an active part of your healing journey. However, they treat a much wider variety of issues, take a more customized approach, help you continue your healing on your own, and often provide you with access to other services.


Addressing the root cause of the problem and learning the skills to improve your health for a lifetime is almost always the better option in comparison to fast results that go away over time.


Get Customized Physical Therapy Services from Expert Manual Therapy


If you’re suffering from chronic pain, trying to heal from an injury, or simply want to improve your mobility and flexibility, we have a variety of physical therapy services that are completely custom-tailored to your unique needs.


And if you’re looking for professional physical therapy in Austin, TX you came to the right place. Contact Expert Manual Therapy for a custom recovery plan today.

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