Chiropractors vs. Physiotherapists

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. Traditionally, chiropractors use manipulation and physiotherapists use modalities and exercise. Yet as evidence progresses, and both professions learn which treatments are most effective, they are becoming more similar.

So, what’s the difference?

Chiropractic care will often include a hands on approach (joint manipulation/mobilization and/or soft tissue massage), which helps to influence the pain or discomfort you may be feeling, along with a movement or exercise specific to the area being treated. It is important to be an active participant in this process and that involves you moving your body. Occasionally your chiropractor will order xrays, but these are only indicated in certain situations, such as a car accident or when we suspect there may be a fracture. Xrays shouldn’t be a regular part of your care and don’t reliably help us assess your spine.

Physiotherapists often use a combination of hands on therapy (soft tissue massage, mobilization or sometimes manipulation), modalities (ie. shockwave, electric stimulation) and rehabilitative exercises to treat injuries. Physiotherapists use these approaches to help ease your pain to help you move through your exercises to improve. They also commonly work with post surgical and pelvic floor patients.

Since both chiropractors and physiotherapists are so similar, deciding who to see can be difficult. A brief phone consultation with our front desk staff is the best place to start the process, in order to provide you with the best fit.