Chiropractor vs Physiotherapist: What’s the Difference and Which Do I Need?

Physiotherapy Laser Therapy
What is Physiotherapy Laser Therapy? 8 Ways it Can Help You
October 21, 2020
Show all
chiropractor vs physiotherapist

Whether you are feeling a crick in your neck, a niggle in your knee, or a sharp lower back pain, sooner or later you will know when it is time to seek out a professional. 

Relief from a pain that has caused so much discomfort over time can leave you feeling like a new person. 

But knowing where to turn outside of your GP can be a cause for confusion. Who wins in the chiropractor vs physiotherapist conundrum? 

We will break down for you all you need to know about either profession and help to lead you in the right direction so you have a good idea about which healthcare professional to make that appointment with. 

Origins and Philosophy 

While it’s easy to view it as chiropractor vs physiotherapist in their ideologies and origins have similarities.

The roots of chiropractic care begin with a man called Daniel David Palmer in 1885. Palmer saw a great improvement in the people he treated when the spine was in some way manipulated. 

The practice that he named highlights the main philosophy behind the discipline. It comes from the Greek words for ‘done’ and ‘hand’ meaning that chiropractic means ‘done by hand’. 

A chiropractor’s main focus is on pain relief via the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Through the various forms of treatments that can be used, they aim for your body to heal itself.

Physiotherapy (also known as physical therapy) has its official beginnings in Sweden when Henrik Ling in 1813 founded the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics’. His main focus was on the benefits of massage, manipulation, and exercises on gymnasts. 

The effective techniques used spread around Europe as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy was founded in Great Britain in 1894. What helped cement physiotherapy’s place in modern healthcare was healthcare was WW1

As can be expected many wounded soldiers had to be rehabilitated and physiotherapy became the trusted method. This is because a physiotherapist’s main focus is to improve your quality of life via maximizing your body’s ability to move freely. 

What Is a Chiropractor?

A chiropractor needs to complete a bachelor’s degree and then study for 3 and a half to 4 years to complete a doctorate or chiropractic or D.C. 

They can be of particular help to you if you experience joint pain, neck pain, back pain such as sciatica, or headaches. 

To treat such conditions a number of non-invasive techniques are used. These include joint and spinal manipulation and other means where signs of restricted movement are found.

Due to their work on the central nervous system, chiropractic care is effective also on neurological conditions as well as improving a patient’s blood pressure. 

At times grade 5 manipulation is used to achieve this referring to a high velocity, low amplitude thrust which is why loud pops and cracks come to mind particularly when thinking of chiropractic.

What Is a Physiotherapist?

A physiotherapist will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field such as physiology or biology. Afterward, they will need to complete a Master of Physiotherapy (MPT) which is another 2 years.

Their studies are more in line with medical doctors learning much about how the nerves, muscles, and spine interact and work together. 

As physiotherapists are movement specialists, they focus not only on the joints and bones but also on strengthening your muscles and improving your balance to ensure that you are at your physical peak.  

Their strengths are particularly in rehabilitation and due to their studies, they can link symptoms to more medical issues and quickly identify if your problem would be best suited to be tended to by a GP. 

Rather than manipulating the joints, they will focus on exercises that mobilize them. To improve muscular issues they may focus on trigger points, electrical and shockwave therapy, or incorporate deep tissue massages into a physical therapy session. 

Among the benefits of physiotherapy, you will find treatment particularly helpful if you have experienced an accident, have had an injury, surgery, or feel any type of pain, acute or chronic, in relation to your movement. 

Additionally, if you wish to maintain or increase your range of motion physiotherapists are usually the ones to call, hence their prevalence in sports therapy for professional athletes. 

Long-term plans are put into place for rehabilitation with the aim of preventing any further injuries.

What Are the Main Differences Between a Chiropractor and a Physiotherapist?

Due to the non-invasive nature of their practices and the similar conditions they are can treat, there are many areas where the two fields overlap. in fact, many physiotherapists will learn techniques used by chiropractors. 

A physiotherapist will mainly use stretches and exercises to get you feeling right as rain whereas joint and spine manipulation is the primary tool used for chiropractic. 

Chiropractor vs Physiotherapist: Which One Do I Need?

In the past, there seemed to be a clear line in the sand, chiropractor vs physiotherapist, yet today times have changed. Today you won’t often find a chiropractor badmouthing physiotherapists or visa versa. 

Both provide a great deal of relief and comfort to countless patients and it’s not wrong to consult both. 

This being said if you are experiencing sharp muscle pain and or have experienced any kind of injury that requires rehabilitation, physiotherapy is a clear winner. 

Most importantly you need to feel at comfort and at ease wherever you seek treatment and that is exactly what you will find at Grande Prairie Physiotherapy & massage. Our highly trained team of professionals will be more than happy to get you on the road to recovery. 

Contact us now to book an appointment.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *