Chiropractor vs. Physical Therapy: Which Option Do I Choose?

Chiropractor vs. Physical Therapy: Which Option Do I Choose?

Should I see a chiropractor or seek physical therapy for my pain?

I have been a practicing Physical Therapist for 26 years. I am often asked, “Should I see a Chiropractor for my problem? Or, should I see a Physical Therapist?”

I have had the opportunity, over the years, to work with many skilled Chiropractors to treat and help patients recover from their injuries or movement dysfunctions. Depending on the type of problem which may be acute or chronic, spinal, or dealing with the extremities, the skill set or specialty of the Physical Therapist or Chiropractor, are what determines a successful outcome.

A Physical Therapist or Chiropractor, in my experience, can work together using their unique skills and area of specialty, to help all patients that have a spine or extremity problem.

The Chiropractor will typically treat with manual or mechanical adjustments/manipulations of the spine or extremities, to reduce dysfunction and pain. In addition, it is also common that the Chiropractor will utilize, but not be limited to heat, cold, massage, and electrical modalities, for  pain management.

The Physical Therapist will approach a patients problems by evaluating movement imbalances, strength, balance and pain assessment.  It is common practice that both the PT and Chiropractor’s treatment approach can overlap and be quite similar. In the end, both professional interventions can compliment each other for the purpose of helping the patients we treat.

In my opinion…communication, mutual respect for each others treatment skills, and understanding the patients needs, will determine a successful outcome for the patient.  When dealing patients that have spine injuries, I feel that there is a time that both professions can benefit the patient.

So back to the question, “Should I see a Physical Therapist or a Chiropractor?  I believe this should be answered by looking at the patients age, physical condition, or type of problem/injury. It is possible that both the PT and the Chiropractor would be beneficial for the patient.  The best advice would be to discuss the issues at hand, with your primary care physician or call one of the Physical Therapist at Excel for recommendations. Remember, we as professionals  are all working together to improve YOUR quality of life.

— Todd Petty, PT, Central Tulsa Excel Therapy Location