There is a large cross over between a physiotherapist and a chiropractor. They are both trained to treat and manage pain, both with professional qualifications and years of education behind them.
We will explain in this article about the differences between both, what the benefits are for the patient for either and how you would go about choosing what is right for you if you have any type of joint pain, stiffness or difficulties mobilising.
How similar is a physiotherapist and a chiropractor?
The goal of both these professions are the same, they both want to help you manage your pain, but they will go about this in a different way. Some of the skills they have learnt do crossover, such as:
- They both use hands-on treatment including massage, mobilisations and manipulation techniques
- They can treat some of the same conditions, particularly joint and muscular pains
- They both provide you with exercise programmes
- They take a full medical history, examine your problem and create a treatment programme for you
Can someone please explain the main differences then?
- Looks at relieving pain often by assessing misalignment of the spine
- Tends to mainly treat muscle, joint and nerve related issues
- Uses a great deal of hands on manipulation to help your body heal itself
- May recommend certain exercises at home or making lifestyle adjustments to reduce pain and inflammation
- Often works in a clinic
- Helps you achieve pain-free movements through hands on techniques as well as exercise-based therapy
- Treats not only muscular and joint injuries, but also neurological, respiratory and elderly related mobility problems
- May give you lifestyle advice on relieving pain
- Can work in any environment, hospital, clinic, home, care home or your workplace
How can a physiotherapist help you?
When you see a physiotherapist, their goal together with yours is to achieve the highest level of pain-free movement as possible. A physiotherapist will assess your abilities and work out a personalised programme of hands on techniques and exercises to help you stay as active and healthy as you can possibly be.
After only a few sessions with your therapist you will hopefully notice the change and feel a great improvement. Your physio will keep assessing your progress throughout and update a treatment plan for you if required.
How can a chiropractor help you?
A chiropractor will assess your abilities and use a much more hands-on approach to ease your pain by manipulating parts of your body. Chiropractors firmly believe that your body can heal itself with certain manipulations done by themselves. They may provide you with exercise programmes to do independently too.
Chiropractors can treat many health conditions for anyone at any age, but they do specifically focus on the musculoskeletal and nervous system.
So how do I know which one to choose?
Many people do get confused as to what route to go down, physiotherapy vs seeing a chiropractor.
Ultimately it depends on the type of condition you have and what you feel best suits you. Would you prefer a more hands on approach with a chiropractor or a less hands on approach and a greater exercise-based approach with a physiotherapist? Both will focus on managing your pain and your symptoms but in different ways.
Choosing which profession to see also depends on the condition you have. Talk to your doctor when you are trying to decide between seeing a physio or seeing a chiropractor, as they can advise you which discipline would be most helpful to manage your condition.