What is a Chiropractor and How Do They Differ from A Physical Therapist?
There are a lot of different positions regarding this subject and it can be a little confusing.
In this article we will explore the difference between a chiropractor and a physical therapist.
So, What is the Difference Between a Chiropractor and a Physical Therapist?
The first step in getting relief from pain is to decide what type of medical specialist you are going to see.
In order to make this decision, you need to know the difference between a chiropractor and a physical therapist.
There are several differences to understand, but the most important are treatment philosophy, education and clinical expertise.
Treatment Philosophy of Chiropractic
When it comes to treatment approach for patients in pain, both chiropractors and physical therapist take different approaches to care plans.
Chiropractors will focus on the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system and the effects compromises in these systems have on patient’s health.
Chiropractors use a hands-on approach in terms of health history, examination, diagnosis and treatment.
Chiropractic treatment will consist of diagnostic studies, orthopedic testing and radiology in order to establish a treatment plan which may include rehabilitative exercise, nutrition and lifestyle counseling.
In order to help to alleviate the patients’ pain and discomfort, the chiropractor will employ manual manipulation or spinalmanipulation. The purpose of spinal manipulation is to realign the joints, restoring proper joint motion thereby alleviating muscle tension and reducing pain.
Physical therapists will evaluate and treat to restore movement and function which is typically strength, range of motion and balance.
Physical therapists, also known as PT’s, use this information to develop a rehabilitative treatment plan from issues related to disease, injury or even environmental factors.
PT’s promote health through identification of risk factors which are likely to cause or exacerbate problems.
Although chiropractors and physical therapist use different techniques, they use their clinical expertise to help patients and alleviate pain.
In order to become a licensed chiropractor or PT, a very long educational program must be completed.
In order to become a chiropractor, the individual candidate must earn a Doctorate in Chiropractic medicine and can take anywhere from 6-8 years to complete. This includes 5200 hours of instruction and 3-4 years of undergraduate training.
After undergraduate school, the candidate will enroll in chiropractic school and will have an educational period over 3-4 years, a residency period of one year. They will then be tested both on a National Board Exams before taking their selected State Board Exams.
Physical therapists who earn a Doctorate in Physical Therapy will take a seven-year program.
This typically includes 3500 hours of instruction 4 years of undergrad school, three years of grad school in physical therapy along with a 30-week internship and successful completion of a National Physical Therapy Examination.
Chiropractors Clinical Expertise
Both chiropractors and physical therapists have specialization in diagnosing and treatment of their patients, they do have different areas of specialty.
Chiropractors are experts at spinal manipulation and spinal adjustments. This includes soft tissue manipulation and joint manipulation. Chiropractors use this knowledge to develop treatment plans to alleviate pain in patients through physical therapy modalities, manipulation and exercise.
Doctors of Chiropractic use evidence gained from examination and radiology to support treatment plans for the spine and affected joints, known as “subluxations”.
A chiropractor’s education provides a deep understanding of disease processes within general medicine, neurology and radiology. This aids them in treatment of chronic pain treatment process and wellness programs.
Within the chiropractic profession there are several areas of specialty including, orthopedics, rehabilitation, neurology, radiology, internal medicine, sports medicine and nutrition.
Physical therapists have expertise in human motion and restoration of associated movement.
As with chiropractors, PTs also have a knowledge basis that extends into chiropractic care and general medicine.
Physical therapists’ area of expertise lies in muscle coordination, neurologic rehabilitation, cardiovascular rehabilitation and soft tissue mobilization.
Physical Therapists can specialize in pediatrics, sports medicine, cardiovascular or pulmonary rehab, geriatrics and clinical electrophysiology.
Make an Appointment with Charlotte Chiropractors at Tebby Clinic for Chiropractic Treatment
If you are having pain from an injury or general aging and deterioration, both chiropractors and physical therapist can help alleviate your pain.
Although these two professions have differing approaches, the do have the same goal in the alleviation of pain and restoration of health for their patients.