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“What’s The Difference Between Physical Therapy And Chiropractic?”

Hope it’s been a great day for you! Here’s a question I get a lot: “What’s the difference between Physical Therapy and Chiropractic?” My opinion is if you went to either provider, and they were reputable, you SHOULD NOT even be able to distinguish the difference after your visit. […]
In reality though, I am sure many of you who have been to another chiropractor prior to seeing us, have ONLY received spinal manipulation as a mode of treatment. The good news is spinal manipulation is HIGHLY effective at modulating pain and improving spinal motion. Many physical therapists are starting to learn manipulation as well.

Unfortunately, there is so much more to helping someone recover from an injury or chronic condition than just spinal manipulation. This is simply one tool a provider has in his or her toolbox. For instance, there are two categories of modalities we can use to help someone recover from a musculoskeletal condition. One is a passive modality (things the provider does for you) such as manipulation, soft tissue massage, dry needling, cold laser therapy, EMS, mechanical traction, Spinal Decompression etc. Then there is the all so important active modality/therapy that we teach you to do for yourself (things you can do for yourself to help manage your condition) therapeutic exercise or corrective exercise, self-mobilizations, ADL training – (ie. how to get out of bed,) ergonomic training (proper desk set up etc.) We find at times motivating clients to perform these active therapies can be a challenge for both us Chiropractors and Physical Therapist. Ultimately, these second tier active modalities is what will make the pain relief be longer lasting!

Essentially, in a perfect world, there should be no differences in the “treatment experience”, between the 2 professions, but there are due to numerous reasons that are hard to sum up in this article. For example, many chiropractors have a philosophy such that they believe the spinal manipulation alone can fix anything, so the important parts of care take a backseat (or become non-existent). This can be due to laziness in continuing education, or a factor of third party re-imbursement discrimination (not being paid equivalent for exercise instruction).

I tend to carry a different philosophy with my patients at Davidson Chiropractic. In regards to my education and post graduate training, I do feel well prepared as a comprehensive Primary Spine Provider. I have seen thousands of spines over the past 18 years, and have successfully performed thousands of spinal manipulations. This came to be as a function of the public’s perception that chiropractors work solely on the spine. Eighty percent of my waking day is treating spine related disorders. Consequently, my Bachelors Degree is in Exercise Science. I fully believe that although the manipulation can induce movement intersegmentally and relieve pain, the exercise instruction of my care helps the muscles that support the joint motion to stabilize and protect from things like poor posture, sitting, heavy/improper lifting. Physical Therapists may see some spine, however, also see a great deal of knees, hips, shoulders, ankles and wrists. They see more of a mix which gives a broader base but maybe less time spent on purely spine.

It just depends on the practitioner’s preference on what they prefer to focus on. For example, I, myself, had on and off shoulder problems for years. So I spent countless hours researching my own shoulder and hence it translated to me being passionate and knowledgeable about shoulders. Therefore, because of this affinity to shoulders I happen to see a great deal of them in my office.
In conclusion, all spinal or extra-spinal conditions are different. What works for one patient will not work for the next. To think all patients get only manipulation no matter what the diagnosis would be the equivalent to me only using a hammer to fix something when I know very well a screwdriver may be needed.


P.S. If you know of anyone who needs a more comprehensive approach to their ailment, forward this email or have them visit our website at, we have various free tips reports that may provide some immediate relief and improve your mobility as soon as today.  Download your free copy from us.
If you have anything new going on reply to this email and in the subject line type: “NEW PROBLEM” and we can schedule a 20 minute phone consult in the privacy of your home.




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