Many people, at some point in their lives, require a professional to treat physical ailments such as muscle injuries, mobility difficulties and joint problems.
It is often thought that the professional work of physiotherapists and chiropractors is somewhat similar.and intervening on many occasions in the same health problems.
It is for this reason that many people wonder what the differences are between physiotherapy and chiropractic, and the aim of this article is to reveal how they differ.
The 6 differences between a physiotherapist and a chiropractor
Both chiropractic and physiotherapy have in common the objective of treating and improving the state of health of people who have recourse to these two health disciplines. In addition, they agree on avoiding the use of drugs and other invasive techniques such as surgical interventions.
Actually, their differences are more conceptual than practical, given that both chiropractors and physiotherapists coincide in intervening in quite a few medical problems.
The following is a description of the difference between these two disciplines and why it is important to know how to choose the professional who will be best able to attend and treat us.
1. Required training
In order to be a physiotherapist, it is necessary to have a university degree in physiotherapy.which is recognized as a health science. Its duration is about 4 years.
In addition, once the graduate is obtained, the physiotherapist can expand his or her knowledge by studying specialized master’s degrees in state-of-the-art techniques.
Chiropractors, on the other hand, require another way of training. To become a chiropractor it is necessary to study in schools specializing in chiropractic, such as the College of Chiropractic, which has locations all over the world. On average, the time needed to train in chiropractic is about 6 to 7 years.
Type of intervention
As we have already mentioned, both disciplines aim to improve the state of health of patients, however, they differ in the way they treat health problems.
Chiropractic claims that many health problems are caused by misalignment of the spine..
If the vertebrae are not properly positioned, they affect nerve impulse transmission because the nerves are tense. This causes the person to suffer back pain, numbness of limbs and loss of touch and muscle strength.
On this basis, chiropractors intervene in this problem by carrying out the technique of vertebral manipulation, which consists of readjusting the spine, detecting subluxations and correcting them.
In this way, the person no longer suffers the pain caused by a disorder at the level of the nervous structure.
On the other hand, physiotherapists cover patients’ bodies in a more general way. Starting from the same objective of solving the patient’s problem, physiotherapy tackles muscular and skeletal pain by localizing the pain focus.
Once the physiotherapist has found the areas where there is an injury or a specific problem, he or she is ready to solve them by means of different types of non-invasive interventions.
Among the interventions carried out by physiotherapists are the correction of posture, recovering the mobility of legs and arms by intervening directly on them, teaching appropriate physical exercises for sports preparation and improvement of neurological problems that can be addressed through psychomotor skills.
Physiotherapists can intervene with multiple techniques: application of heat and cold, electrical impulses, ultrasound, laser, teaching therapeutic movements, psychomotor education, among others.
Because of this, physiotherapists can be found not only in medical practices, but also in sport-related places such as gyms or sports academies.
3. Degree of personalization of therapy
Chiropractic has a reduced degree of personalization of therapysince it is limited to intervening on the spinal column.
Chiropractors claim that many problems are caused by poor spinal structuring, which is why most focus on adjusting their patients’ vertebrae.
On the other hand, physiotherapy, by covering the body in a much more holistic way, allows the patient to receive a much more personalised treatment, focusing on the part where there is an injury or that which he wants to improve in order to have a better sporting performance.
In addition, physiotherapy, by offering a great variety of techniques, allows the patient to have a wide range of therapeutic options, being able to choose the one that he considers most suitable to his tastes and the one that best adapts to his physical characteristics.
Physical therapy focuses on diagnosing and treating any problems related to movement.and its objective is to improve the mobility of the person, as well as helping to avoid future motor problems.
Chiropractic, on the other hand, is limited to detecting subluxations and associating them with the symptoms referred by the patient.
5. Healing vs. counseling
Both physiotherapy and chiropractic are intended to cure injuries and health problems of patients.
However, there is a nuance between the two disciplines. Unlike chiropractic, physiotherapy is not only intended to fix the patient’s health problems, it is also intended to give both health and sports advice to healthy people.
Thus, while in chiropractic its function is more focused on solving problems once they have occurred, in physiotherapy it is intended to avoid themIt also provides advice on how to carry out good health habits and maintain an optimal state of the muscular and skeletal system.
6. Compatibility with other health disciplines
Chiropractic, by focusing mostly on the spine, in practice has little compatibility with other health disciplines.Since it is common that doctors, surgeons and nurses, if they are used before a chiropractor, solve the same problems and is not necessary a referral to this professional.
Physiotherapists, on the other hand, can work together with many other professionals, including psychologists and psychiatrists.
Since many muscle injuries are the result of high levels of stress that can produce tension in the muscles, there are many physical and mental health professionals who refer their patients to physiotherapists in order to treat this type of problem.
- Chevan J., Machlin S. R., Yu W. W., Zodet M. W. (2011) Determinants of utilization and expenditures for episodes of ambulatory physical therapy among adults. Physical Therapy. 91(7);1018–1029.