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Chiropractors vs. Physiotherapists

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Chiropractors vs Physiotherapists: What’s the Difference?


We often get asked to explain the difference between chiropractors and physiotherapists.
Sometimes people think that there is a rivalry between us, but we have no bones to pick with
physios. The truth is that there is a lot of overlap.
Both chiropractors and physiotherapists treat musculoskeletal problems to increase mobility
and decrease pain. However, chiropractors tend to do more manipulations and
physiotherapists tend to do more rehabilitative exercises. Yet as technology progresses, and
both professions learn which treatments are most effective, they are becoming more similar.
So, what’s the difference?
Chiropractic care is based on the idea that proper alignment of the musculoskeletal structure
allows the body to heal naturally. Chiropractors are known for adjusting and manipulating the
spine. They are often the first practitioner you turn to when suffering from a neck or back
ailment, but they can also treat other areas of the body and other conditions.
Physiotherapists use massage, manual therapy and rehabilitative exercises to treat injuries.
People often go to physio for rehabilitation after a major trauma, like a car accident or a stroke.
Instead of specializing in spinal treatment, physiotherapy takes a broader approach to healing
and focuses on improving how you move. Chiropractors are also concerned with mobility, but
take a more curative approach, using their hands to adjust the joints where signs of restricted
movement are found to help you move more freely.
Physiotherapists only treat soft tissue and not bones. When it comes to immediate pain relief,
chiropractic is more effective, as physiotherapy treats symptoms over a longer period of time.
Whether you should see a chiropractor or a physiotherapist depends on the nature of your
injury. Sometimes who you should see is obvious—for example, you should go to a
physiotherapist to learn to walk again after a stroke. A short phone consultation is usually all it
takes to determine which type of practitioner will be best for your needs. At Quarry Medical
Clinic we also offer additional treatments to chiropractic adjustments, including laser therapy,
kinesio tape, graston, anodyne and flexion distraction.