Using Chiropractic vs. Physical Therapy

Chiropractors and Physical Therapists are similar in that they work towards normalizing the function of the physical body. Physical Therapists focus on the muscular system trying to reestablish normal strength and function. The work they do to the joints of the body can be characterized as mobilization, not manipulation. They have not received any proper training in the manipulation of the joints.

The question that has to be asked, then, is whether there is a difference between the mobilization of a joint and the manipulation of the joint. The answer is that, without hesitation, there is a great difference. Many biomechanical joint conditions simply will not respond to joint mobilization. I have successfully treated numerous patients after they had received many weeks of physical therapy without results. Now, I am not so blinded by my own professional biases to not realize that a good number of patients will also benefit from physical therapy. Chiropractors, though, receive extensive training in both joint manipulation and in treating muscular dysfunction.

A good example of this would be illustrated by examining a typical physical therapy appointment. The patient might receive ultrasound, electrical stimulation, hot/cold therapy, deep muscle tissue therapy, specific muscle stretching, general soft tissue stabilization protocols, or specific rehabilitative exercises. I perform all of these treatment options in my clinic.

I do, however, send some patients for physical therapy. These are the patients who need extensive stabilization, stretching, or strengthening protocols. I also see patients who are actively receiving physical therapy, but I usually only perform manipulation on them. So patients can benefit from both professions.