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What is the difference between Chiropractic and Physiotherapy?
December 3, 2013
This is both the most asked question and the most difficult to answer. Of course I am biased because I practice chiropractic; however I have consulted a physiotherapist.
The main difference as I see it is in the philosophy of health and therefore the focus of the treatment.
Physiotherapists tend to be more symptoms focused. They aim to rehabilitate injuries or relieve chronic pain. They work to try to mobilise joints to reduce pain and increase range of movement. They also tend to work in closer contact with the medical profession in areas such as post-operative care, stroke rehabilitation etc. Physiotherapists frequently use machines such as TENS or ultrasound as part of their treatment approach and prescribe specific exercises
Chiropractors tend to have a more holistic approach to health. They are known as the ‘spinal health experts’. The chiropractic philosophy holds that if the spinal is functioning properly, there will be less stress on the nervous system which will then allow the entire body to function at its potential. Chiropractors traditionally use a specific type of manipulation called an adjustment. The purpose of this adjustment is to restore proper function to the spine and body. When the spine is functioning properly, there is less irritation therefore less pain and less interference to the nervous system.
We often find that when we manage a low back pain, the patient also reports an improvement in his/her digestion. This is most likely explained by the fact that by reducing the pressure on the pain sensitive nerves in the low back, pressure is also taken off the nerves leading from the low back to the bowels.
Chiropractic also looks at nutrition, exercise and lifestyle factors in order to achieve the best outcomes.
Like with any treatment, there are strong points and limitations. My best advice would be to get a recommendation from a trusted friend or family member, If a particular treatment worked for them, it may well work for you.