Which One Do You Need: Chiropractor or Physical Therapist?

At some point in your life, you may encounter a situation where you have to decide between visiting a chiropractor or physical therapist. It is completely understandable if someone cannot differentiate between these two professions since there are many similarities.

At first glance, it might appear that chiropractors and physical therapists both utilize non-invasive, holistic, drug-free methods to treat issues. While there is some overlap between the two professions, this doesn’t accurately reflect their differences from one another. The distinction between them is relatively straightforward; keep reading to find out more about how they differ!

To get started, let’s answer this question: Chiropractor or physical therapist: which one do you need?

Knowing the key difference between a chiropractor and a physical therapist can help you determine which one is right for your needs. Chiropractic care primarily focuses on using manual interventions to treat joint or muscular issues, while physical therapists specialize in exercises that improve strength and aid recovery.

While chiropractors and physical therapists both aim to improve musculoskeletal health, they focus on different components. Thus, if you have an issue with your joints or muscles–or are uncertain which one is causing discomfort, seeking out a chiropractor would be the ideal option since they can refer you to a specialist if necessary.

Chiropractor vs. Physical Therapist: Same Goal, Different Methods

Chiropractors emphasize hands-on manipulation to realign the spine and other joints. While they do provide treatment for soft tissue injuries, their primary objective is to restore joint alignment. When this occurs, it eases pressure on the nerves that triggers muscle spasms leading to pain relief and improved functionality.

In contrast, physical therapists prioritize strengthening muscles and movement. Patients are taught a variety of exercises to build their strength and agility. If misalignments happen at all, the strategy is usually to use targeted muscle exercises to realign joints back into place.

Which One Is Right For You?

Unsure of which medical specialist is your ideal choice when it comes to physical injuries? It can be tricky, especially if you haven’t yet seen a doctor and are unsure what’s causing the issue in the first place. Chiropractors or physical therapists may both have potential treatment solutions for you, though without knowing more about your health status, it could prove hard to identify who would give the best outcomes.

Here are a few questions to help you decide.

1.Have you been in a car crash recently?

Even in a minor car accident, the collision can cause enough force to misalign your bones. A chiropractor can use spinal manipulation and other techniques to move the joints back into alignment and allow your body to properly heal.

2. Are you suffering from a long-term medical issue?

Physical therapy typically requires a long-term commitment to realize desired effects. 

Poor posture from constantly being hunched over a keyboard can be an immense source of pain. With the help of a chiropractor, however, you may find solace in manipulation and/or flexion distraction techniques that fight against gravity and bad ergonomics.

3. Do you want quick pain relief?

As we previously discussed, physiotherapists are known to center their treatments around strengthening the muscles to realign joints. If your ache is caused due to an incorrectly positioned vertebra, it will take time for these muscles to become robust enough so that they can shift the bones back into place.


Choosing between a chiropractor or physical therapist is not the only factor in getting back to health; you’ll need one who can accurately recognize and explain what’s causing your aches. If your doctor is not evaluating the issue adequately (like with x-rays) and clarifying how it might be influencing your body, don’t hesitate to seek out a more competent practitioner.

Before your first appointment, every new patient is provided with an x-ray to detect any potential underlying skeletal issues that may be causing their current symptoms. After the initial consultation, Dr. John Wisman DC, a Bellevue Chiropractor will create a personalized treatment plan based on your injuries and needs.

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Doctor Of Chiropractic
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