• Physiotherapists and Chiropractors - What's the Difference?

    October 22, 2012 | News
  • Both chiropractors and physiotherapists offer a useful service and can offer relief from a variety of joint and muscle related issues. Both involve the manipulation of painful areas to help combat pain and mechanical issues and for this reason they are often confused with one another. Despite their seeming similarity, the two systems actually use wholly different approaches and offer different benefits. Understanding these differences can help you to make the right choice regarding your treatment.

    The American Physical Therapy Association (PTA) describes physiotherapists as being in the health care profession. This means that they are able to diagnose conditions and can prescribe medicine and drugs where necessary. They can also advise on other forms of treatment such as lifestyle and diet changes, and use a set of ‘precautionary wellness’ programmes aimed at improving the patient’s fitness and combating things such as obesity. It is not uncommon for a doctor to refer a patient on to a physiotherapist in order to help with things like broken bones, arthritis or damaged joints. Their aim is to help others regain movement in their damaged areas and thereby combat disability and aid recovery from a variety of conditions.

    A chiropractor meanwhile, also classified by the PTA as being in the field of health care, is an alternative or complementary treatment for mechanical problems, again revolving around the musculoskeletal system and nervous system. Unlike physiotherapists, chiropractors have one underlying philosophy that they can apply to a variety of situations. This is the fundamental principle that a vast selection of health problems are caused by the misalignment of the spinal chord. This can affect even seemingly distant body parts and areas due to the fact that the spine contains the sciatic nerve that carries all of the body’s signals to and from the brain. By realigning the spine then, a chiropractor can address many different issues throughout the body and even treat problems that don’t seem to be musculoskeletal. This is a ‘holistic’ view of the body that doesn’t believe in treating areas in an isolated fashion. Instead by aligning the spine and encouraging wellness in other areas, a chiropractor will help improve all manner of health issues in the individual.

    As such, the differing philosophies of physiotherapists and chiropractors result in different treatment methods and make them more suited to particular problems. For example, a physiotherapist might be the more appropriate treatment for something such as an infection or a broken bone, while a chiropractor might be more useful for a chronic condition such as persistent sciatica or arthritis. The differing views of chiropractors when compared to modern medicine has resulted in it being labelled ‘alternative’ medicine, however this is a view that many chiropractors dispute.

    By seeing both professionals you can get a thorough and all-encompassing treatment for your conditions and enjoy the best of both worlds. Different methods will suit different people and it’s important to get the most experience you can to give yourself the best chance of a recovery. Understanding the difference will hopefully help you make a choice in future.

    The author works with glendora chiropractor [http://www.glendorachiropractor.com]. Visit his site [http://www.glendorachiropractor.com] to see the services they provide.