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Is there a difference between a chiropractor and a physical therapist?

While their philosophies are similar (we manually work on the body to make it heal), physical therapists help you perform stretches and exercises to improve your mobility. Exercises may include squats, lunges, rotations, depending on what your injury or point of focus is.

Chiropractors perform manipulations and adjustments on the spine (crack!) to help your body heal itself. They work on the “bones” and alignment while the physical therapists work on the muscles. Chiropractors also have a deeper focus on the nervous system, while  physical therapists are paying more attention to how the body functions as a whole.

So now that we know there is a difference between these two types of providers, how do we know which we need?

 The best way to answer this question is to “lead by example”. Say you have scoliosis in the thoracic (middle) part of your spine (think of an “S” shape”). You go in for a chiropractic adjustment which helps manipulate the spine back into a vertical shape – but the muscles over time have learned to live with the curve of the spine. So even with weekly, biweekly, or monthly adjustments, what have you, not much is going to change unless you train the muscles to match the manipulation. In some cases, like this, it’s best to do both types of therapy.

In another instance, like chronic headaches, it could be chiropractic care only that helps rid of the symptoms, and then something like a surgical recovery should be treated with physical therapy.

It really depends on what you’ve got going on! Need an evaluation? Don’t hesitate to call us at MedAmerica for a consultation.