Chiropractic medicine is focused on subtle spinal adjustments and other therapies, such as massage and cryotherapy, which minimize inflammation in the nervous system.
Chiropractors are informed about how and where the nerves bind to the brain and will help alleviate the issues of the patient as a whole.
Chiropractors physically examine each patient's anatomy to identify spinal or muscle misalignments that may create discomfort within the central nervous system, leading to pain or discomfort. Eliminating the patient’s pain and other symptoms are often the primary goal, in addition to helping them regain full mobility.
Chiropractors can also further their education to specialize in subjects like sports medicine, pediatrics, orthopedics, nutrition, and more.
Physical Therapy Treatment Approach:
Physical Therapists treat physical abnormalities by helping the patient to restore strength and gain greater mobility through a recommended series of exercises. Contact our Wilmington Chiropractor, Dr. Mike Franics today for an evaluation and to learn more about physical therapy.
Typically, physical therapists will create a personalized exercise plan for the patient using their medical history and underlying conditions. They may also provide the patient information on how to avoid future injuries and continue long-term rehabilitation of the injury.
Just like chiropractors, physical therapists may choose to narrow their scope of practice by specializing in different subjects such as occupational therapy, sports medicine, geriatrics, and more.
How Chiropractors incorporate Physical Therapy?
No matter your injury, you may be wondering if a chiropractor can treat your condition. In fact, chiropractors can treat and help to reduce pain in many different musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, such as:
- Shoulder pain
- Carpal Tunnel
- Neck, back and low back pain
- Sports related injuries
- Knee, foot and ankle pain
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Whiplash and other car accident injuries
- Chronic headaches and migraines
What Do Physical Therapists Commonly Treat?
Physical therapists commonly work with patients who have sustained an injury that restricts movement. For example, when a patient has suffered a stroke and can no longer grasp objects with their hand.
Some of the common conditions that physical therapists treat are:
- Sports injuries
- Recovery after a significant surgery
- Increasing mobility in aging adults
- Recovery from a major illness such as multiple sclerosis or stroke
What Are The Main Differences Between Chiropractic Care and Physical Therapy?
The greatest difference between chiropractors and physical therapists is that all chiropractors use a form of physical manipulation to improve joint function and provide pain relief, while physical therapists focus on helping patients relearn a physical skill that has been lost due to injury or illness. Additionally, very few physical therapists have any experience with adjustments and the pain relief it can provide.
Chiropractors are also very accessible to the general public, while a referral from a medical doctor is most likely required to see a physical therapist and there may be a limit on the number of visits approved. However, health insurance is widely accepted for both types of care.
When comparing chiropractic care to physical therapy, there are key differences in their treatment methods. To treat an injury, a chiropractor will manipulate the body using their hands to help alleviate discomfort and increase mobility. Chiropractors make tailored improvements to the spine and joints and often do deep tissue treatment to strengthen the muscles and tendons as well. Conversely, a physical therapist treats mobility and coordination injuries using different techniques like muscle stretching, exercises, and sometimes, joint manipulation. This type of treatment is done gradually, usually over a period of months or up to a year.
Should I See a Chiropractor or Physical Therapist?
If you have had a recent injury or are trying to alleviate chronic pain, it's important to consider all the medical choices to help you improve your quality of life. Both chiropractic care and physical therapy are treatments that can help to improve your health and prevent future injuries. In fact, you may find that you would benefit from integrating both treatments into your personal health routine. Or, perhaps you might decide that one treatment is a better option for you than the other. The decision is personal and you may want to consult your primary physician to discuss your current health and any underlying conditions.
Physical therapy is used for the diagnosis and treatment of mobility impairments and other related conditions. The recommended therapies may include both in-office and at-home stretching, hot and cold therapy, and even special exercises. Physical therapy is aimed at helping patients regain lost mobility, maintenance their progress, and to avoid potential future injury. These treatments are usually administered in hospitals, nursing homes, or other locations and typically require a referral from a physician.
Chiropractic care is unique in that its objective is to realign any out-of-place spinal vertebrae which can, in turn, alleviate pain and nerve pressure. Although the goals are the same with physical therapy, the emphasis in chiropractic care is geared more towards subluxation correction. Normally, chiropractors strengthen the spine of a patient using their hands or adjustment instruments, in addition to other alternative therapies. Some of the alternative therapies are similar to what is used in physical therapy such as hot and cold therapy and stretching, but chiropractic care can also include massage therapy, electric muscle stimulation, and ultrasound.
Both of these therapies provide excellent solutions for people with musculoskeletal disorders. Chiropractic care, however, is also used to treat a host of other disorders such as asthma, mood disorders, TMJ, and earaches. Since chiropractic care treats the nervous system, there is a broader variety of disorders that can be addressed as the nervous system controls so many aspects of our body and is a comprehensive system.
Patients often wonder which treatment is better for their injury. Again, the best way to decide which treatment to utilize would involve speaking with your primary care physician in order to get a diagnosis. A treatment plan can then be made which may include both chiropractic care and physical therapy, one over the other, or something completely different. An integrative approach, meaning utilizing multiple treatments, is often recommended so that healing and pain relief can be achieved quickly and holistically.