With about 65 million Americans suffering from back pain, it’s the second most common reason for medical visits. Combine this with 132 million times patients see a doctor each year to address bone and joint health problems, and you have a true need for quality rehabilitative care. Back, muscle and joint pain can be debilitating, and it can be difficult to know where to go for help when you are in pain with mild injuries, soft tissue damage, whiplash, back and neck pain, migraines, and sports injuries. The real question is, should you see an orthopedic surgeon, physical therapist, or a chiropractor for your musculoskeletal pain? Identifying the cause of your pain is the first step to solving it, therefore a proper diagnosis is essential. This means you should always see a medical doctor, (and preferably an orthopedic surgeon) first to be evaluated when you are in pain. Once diagnosed, physical therapy is often prescribed and is really the best bet for treating and healing many injuries.
Physical therapy and physiotherapy are in fact the same thing. Like physiotherapy, chiropractic treatments are often used to correct and treat various physical conditions, from back and joint pain to migraine headaches. However, chiropractic care requires you to keep coming back, while physical therapy is intended to prevent your problems from happening again. Physical Therapists are experts in movement and function and develop plans for their patients using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapy is favored because it focuses on a wide range of problems, from sports-related injuries to weakness caused by strokes. The fact is, that physical therapy has a much broader scope of practice than chiropractic treatment does.
Here are some reasons why physical therapy comes out on top in the debate between physical therapy and chiropractic therapy.
1. Physical Therapy Covers More Aspects of the Human Body
Physical Therapy involves comprehensive treatment of the whole body, or the area of focus. PT helps patients regain the abilities they had prior to injury. Physical therapy may also reduce the amount of pain you are in. On the other hand, chiropractic care focuses on the nervous system, skeletal system, and the muscles in the body that enable movement. A physical therapist works specifically on the injured area and helps you to regain strength, mobility, range of motion and even build endurance.
2. Physical Therapists have Better Sets of Skills
Physical Therapists are trained to do many of the same things chiropractors can do, but better. Well-trained physical therapists are able to perform acupuncture, acupressure, massage, water therapy, and exercises that stabilize your body. A physical therapist can also build specialized programs tailored to you that will help you recover, and get back on your feet in no time. PT’s also use ice, heat, and ultrasound to treat injuries and restore function. Unlike chiropractors, physical therapists also put a strong emphasis on comprehensive techniques that will make your body stronger and healthier.
3. Chiropractors Cannot Treat Many Problems
Chiropractors manipulate muscles as their primary method of treating injuries. In some cases, chiropractors use no other treatment techniques. Physical Therapists recognize injuries or weaknesses that you might not know existed. In addition, physical therapists are trained in post-surgical rehabilitation designed to restore function in the area that was operated on. Since chiropractors usually focus on spinal issues, they do not tend to look at the whole picture to find out if anything else is wrong.
4) Chiropractors May Cause Additional Injury
Unfortunately, going to a chiropractor instead of a medical doctor can result in additional injuries. Again, chiropractors focus on one part of your body, the muscles, which many patients might not adjust well to. Physical therapy will always be the better option out of the two, because a physical therapist will fix the overall problem, allowing you to recover and get you back up on your feet, and active. Becoming a physical therapist is a more difficult process, as PT’s are now required to have a degree. Physical therapy tends to have better coverage from insurance companies. In nearly all cases, patients are better off with physical therapy than they are with a chiropractic clinic.
For more information on the difference between physical therapy and chiropractors, visit www.mdbonedocs.com.