Physical therapy and chiropractic care both aim to relieve the patient’s pain, improve flexibility and mobility and restore function. Both are effective treatment methods offering good results when provided by experienced physical therapists and chiropractors. The question how physical therapy differs from chiropractic care is one that arises in our minds, when considering treatment for a particular condition.

Chiropractic Treatment Focuses on the Functioning of the Spinal Column

Chiropractic treatment lays emphasis on the functioning of the spinal column. Chiropractors identify, treat and prevent disorders pertaining to the spine, mainly spinal subluxations. Chiropractic care ensures that the patient benefits from a strong and healthy spine and thereby a fully efficient nervous system that is indispensable with regard to good health. Treatment procedure is mainly spinal manipulation, which may be combined with electrotherapeutic modalities, soft tissue therapy, and exercises. Chiropractic manipulation or chiropractic adjustment is a hands-on treatment technique that corrects misaligned spine or joints, and restores their proper function. What distinguishes chiropractic care is that this treatment supports the body’s natural healing powers rather than rely on surgery or medication. Conditions that can benefit from chiropractic treatment include:

  • Neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain
  • Arthritic pain
  • Whiplash
  • Sciatica
  • Herniated disc
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Arm/leg pain
  • Headaches

Chiropractors may also provide dietary as well as disease prevention advice, recommend ice packs for relieving pain, and give instruction on relaxation techniques.

Here are the benefits offered by chiropractic treatment:

  • Strengthens the body and improves blood circulation
  • Reduces response to painful stimuli
  • Increases flexibility and vitality
  • Reduces muscle spasm, stress, inflammation
  • Improves immunity of the body
  • Improves joint coordination
  • Encourages natural healing

Physical Therapy Focuses on Restoring, Maximizing and Developing One’s Functional Ability

Physical therapy is provided for patients with particular physical conditions that have been accurately diagnosed, and physical therapy treatment is found to be necessary for smooth recovery. Physical therapy rehabilitation takes into consideration the social, emotional and psychological well-being of the patient, apart from their physical welfare. Individuals who have been in accidents, patients with fractures, injuries, physical disabilities, low back pain, shoulder and neck pain, arthritis, stroke and other medical conditions can benefit from customized physical therapy programs. Physical therapy rehabilitation centers provide treatments such as:

  • Massage and myofascial release
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
  • Ice or heat to eliminate muscle spasm and inflammation
  • Ultrasound to treat soft tissue injuries
  • Traction

Physical therapists also utilize stretching and strengthening exercises, hydrotherapy or aquatherapy, muscle energy techniques and joint mobilization for excellent results. Rehabilitative exercises and home exercise programs are also recommended as part of physical therapy treatment.

Conditions treated include:

  • Headaches
  • Pain from whiplash
  • Arthritis
  • Knee pain, back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain
  • Sciatica
  • Sports injuries
  • Herniated discs
  • Work-related injuries
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Ankle and foot problems, and a host of other ailments

Benefits Offered by Physical Therapy

  • Visible and lasting improvement in the patient’s life
  • Enhance and maintain strength of muscles and endurance
  • Restore range of motion
  • Improve co-ordination
  • Reduce pain, muscle spasms, swelling and inflammation
  • Promote healing of soft tissue injury
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve mobility and function
  • Prevent future injury

Chiropractic treatment and physical therapy differ in principle and the mode of treatment provided. However, both ensure lasting relief from pain and successful restoration of normal function, thus improving the quality of patients’ lives. It is important to seek treatment at a reputable pain management center that follows a multidisciplinary approach to ensure optimum results for its patients.

Author's Bio: 

Treatments offered at HealthQuest include: Chiropractic Care, Spinal Decompression, Orthopedics, Neurology, Pain Management, Physical Therapy, and Rehabilitation. Dr. Russell Greenseid and Dr. Nick Chiappetta are chiropractors at HealthQuest.