People experience a wide variety of injuries or conditions that limit their mobility or reduce their quality of life. For example, around 16 million Americans must cope with chronic back pain. While medications can help some people, the opioid epidemic has made doctors and everyday people alike a little gun shy about them.
Of course, there are other options that can help people regain mobility and improve their quality of life. Two of the more popular choices are visiting a chiropractor and physical therapy. Still, you may wonder, “Is there a difference between a chiropractor vs physical therapy?”
Keep reading for a quick look at the differences.
What is a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor is a specialist who focuses on neuromuscular conditions. They work from the core principle that misalignments in the spine can affect the nervous system and cause pain. By manually realigning the spine, they can reduce or even eliminate the cause of a wide variety of pain.
Visiting a chiropractor, such as Unify Chiropractic, can offer you a variety of benefits. The most common benefit that people seek is some kind of improvement in back or neck pain.
Other potential benefits include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Relieve sciatica
- Reduce migraines or headaches
- Reduce inflammation
Another key benefit is that you can seek out a chiropractor on your own. The average chiropractor cost varies from as little as $50 to as much as $200 per visit, although insurance will often cover some of the costs.
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is also a specialization, but it is less strictly focused than what chiropractors do. Physical therapists more often function as overall movement specialists. Physical therapists often specialize in treating specific kinds of patients, such as the elderly, orthopedic patients, children, or heat patients.
Treatments can range from exercise to massage, heat therapy, and light therapy. Unlike a chiropractor, a doctor must typically refer you for physical therapy.
Physical Therapy Benefits
Much like a chiropractor, physical therapy offers a wide range of benefits. Some of the common ones include:
- Pain reduction
- Improved range of motion
- Relieve repetitive stress injuries
- Improved balance
- Avoiding surgery
Another key benefit is that physical therapy can help limit opioid dependency.
Chiropractor vs Physical Therapy
Chiropractor treatments and physical therapy are not mutually exclusive. They overlap in that they treat pain and movement issues with a goal for improved quality of life.
In many cases, though, chiropractors treat chronic conditions rooted in problems with the spine. Physical therapists often treat acute or short-term injuries or conditions.
Which Is Right for You?
Figuring out which is right for you in the chiropractor vs physical therapy question depends on your situation. As a general rule, though, your doctor will refer you to physical therapy if they think it can benefit you.
For many, a chiropractor is the choice when a doctor or physical therapy hasn’t improved your situation enough in terms of pain reduction or improved mobility.
Looking for more health tips? Check out the post in our Health section.