What is the difference between a physical therapist and a chiropractor?

This is a very frequently asked question. A physical therapist and a chiropractor are not the same, although they have similar activities. In both maneuvers and movements are performed that help us when there is pain.

These two professions have a different training. Upon graduation from each, a license is obtained to practice them. This license authorizes to work independently, in a specialty hospital or in a general clinic.

Find out below what are the differences between a physiotherapist and a chiropractor so that you are clear when requesting care.

What is a physical therapist?

To be a physiotherapist, it is necessary to study a degree in physical therapy or physiotherapy. Physical therapists focus on treating muscle, ligament, and joint injuries. They support patients to learn how to use them again.

A physical therapist also works in conjunction with the rehabilitation team. The classic example is the recovery process after knee surgery.

What diagnoses does a physical therapist make?

To achieve an accurate diagnosis, the physiotherapist must know the complete case of the patient, including medical diagnosis. You will then be able to make a physical therapy diagnosis. For this you will use one of two main systems:

  • The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health of the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) System.

Although both are systems different diagnostic tests, agree that identify the part of the body affected by injuries or surgeries, they indicate whether the affected body part performs movements or has a sensitivity function, they measure the limitation that results from the affected body part and they determine the general impact of the injury on the patient's life.

In physiotherapy, much work is done with osteomyoarticular rehabilitation after surgical procedures.

What treatments does a physical therapist perform?

After having made the physiotherapy diagnosis, the treatment stage begins. The physical therapist will evaluate the functional prognosis for the program to be used.

The most commonly used approaches can be divided into the following:

  • Therapies and manual exercises: masoterapia, mmuscle and myofascial mobilizations, tlymphatic drainage techniques, kinesiotherapy.
  • Treatments using physical and natural agents: orUltrasound hot or cold, hidroterapia, magnetotherapy, andtranscutaneous nerve stimulation (TENS).

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What is a chiropractor?

Chiropractors are healthcare professionals who use manipulation of body parts. One of the main characteristics of chiropractic is to focus on the spine and the nervous system.

They generally use adjustment and spinal manipulation. These maneuvers are applied to reduce pain and inflammation. Its main objective is to correct postural problems. They have as part of their philosophy support the body's natural ability to heal itself.

What diagnoses does a chiropractor make?

Chiropractic diagnoses focus on problems that affect the nerves, muscles, bones, and joints. If necessary, you can also order X-rays to look at the position of bones and joints.

Another part of the diagnosis is made by palpating the joints of the spine. The goal of palpation is to identify problems and their possible causes.

What treatments does a chiropractor perform?

In chiropractic various approaches are used. In addition to the techniques of adjustment and spinal manipulation are the following:

  • Therapies Cold and heat.
  • Techniques electrical stimulation.
  • Relaxation exercises and lifestyle changes.
  • Nutritional guides and diet supplements.

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Main Similarities Between Physiotherapist and Chiropractor

Physical therapists and chiropractors have a common goal: relieve your patients. However, they use different techniques and ways to achieve it.

Among the main similarities of both professions are the following:

  • They use manual techniques and therapies that include body movements.
  • They seek to control pain using non-invasive techniques and without surgery.
  • They can treat the same ailment in a complementary way.
  • They offer comprehensive wellness plans for their patients.
  • Examine patients and make diagnoses, treatments and prognoses.
  • They are health professions authorized to practice under license.

Chiropractors focus more on spinal problems than on other areas of the body.

Main differences between the physiotherapist and the chiropractor

Just as they have several similarities, there are also very marked differences between both disciplines:

  • Physiotherapy has as one of its objectives the painless movement. Instead, chiropractic focuses on relieving pain by align the column.
  • Physical therapists help the patient with exercises and stretches to improve your mobility. In contrast, the chiropractor it seeks for the body to heal itself with manipulations and adjustments.
  • The physical therapist observes how the body moves and works as a whole. Chiropractor focuses on pain back, neck, joints and head.

Physiotherapy or Chiropractic?

To determine what type of therapy is needed, the following question must be answered: what condition or discomfort is suffered? In the same way, it will be necessary to identify if there are other specific needs.

Then, depends of the condition if physical therapy or chiropractic care is required. Both disciplines should alleviate pain and improve quality of life.

Physical therapists may specialize in population groups, such as children or older adults. Or they can do it for types of injuries, such as sports or post-surgical.

The chiropractor's care is focused on disorders of the nervous and musculoskeletal system. Their principle is that the body heal itself.

The advice of the doctor is important to decide the type of therapy necessary. He can recommend the appropriate one based on the clinical picture.