Believe it or not, back pain is the second most common reason for medical visits! When seeking help, many people wonder, “should I see a chiropractor or a physical therapist?” Both are professionals whose goal is alleviating tension in the body and restoring mobility without surgery. San Antonio has several highly trained practitioners in both fields, but which one is best for you? The answer is it just depends.
Let’s break down the differences between a chiropractor and a physical therapist and illustrate how each are used to treat injuries, tension, and pain.
Chiropractors focus on mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, meaning they treat areas of the spine and the surrounding muscles. They examine and manipulate the body to encourage healing. The specialists perform manual therapy, a treatment that involves a hands-on approach, to adjust the specific areas of the back and corresponding muscles that need attention.
It is important to note that, while chiropractors undergo training, they are not medical doctors.
Physical therapists are medical professionals who provide treatment in cases involving injury, disease, and aging. They focus on restoring mobility and function. Some examples include walking, exercising to rebuild specific muscle groups, and performing day-to-day tasks that help a body or designated area function more effectively. Patients are encouraged to engage in specific activities ranging from simple movements to extensive exercises for proper rehabilitation, especially when relieving pain and aiding in recovery of the knee, hip, neck, and spine.
Keep in mind that physical therapy is not a simple wellness program! Physical therapists are there to make sure that you are properly conducting physical movement in order to relieve pain and restore strength and mobility.
CHIROPRACTOR OR PHYSICAL THERAPIST?
For simple pains that do not rise to the level of a doctor’s visit, consulting with a chiropractor can be an easier, less expensive option for treating back pain. Spinal manipulation is generally considered to be effective and safe for treating back pain.
If your pain is due to a larger medical condition, aging, or injury, then a physical therapist may be a better option. By rebuilding strength in targeted areas with physical therapy, patients can treat current pains and prevent future injuries.
Some physical therapists also specialize in manual therapy. If you are interested in some of the treatments available at a chiropractor but want a medical professional to provide the therapy, you can visit a specialist who can provide both options.
DO NOT HESITATE TO GET HELP!
At the South Texas Spinal Clinic, we have a physical therapy program that helps patients get back to the everyday activities of life. An initial evaluation will allow your professionally trained therapist to determine the source of your problem, and establish goals for physical improvement.