Chiropractors and Physical Therapists have the same goals in mind: To heal your body and restore movement. Both work to improve range of motion, have similar stretching and strengthening exercises, and utilize non-surgical techniques to help you rehab and recover. However, that’s about the extent to which they are similar. There is some overlap, but there are quite a few differences between chiropractors vs. physical therapists as you’ll see in this article. We want to make clear that you don’t have to choose either a chiropractor or physical therapist to help you. The two professions don’t work against each other; there is no either, or. In fact, these two professions complement each other as patients commonly see both a PT and chiropractor when dealing with pain and dysfunction.

As we said above, there are differences in how each profession heals the body and works with you to restore function and movement. Let’s break down those differences here.


Chiropractors Vs. Physical Therapists – Philosophies and Treatments

Physical Therapy Philosophy and Treatment

The focus and goal of a physical therapist is to restore functional health and movement using strengthening and range of motion techniques. This includes stretching, utilizing stretch bands and other hand tools, weights, and range of motion exercises.

There is no age limit or restriction to seeing a physical therapist; children who experience injuries from a sport and those who become injured at work are two frequent patients of physical therapists.

Typically, a patient sees a physical therapist after an injury or due to a health condition that limits their mobility. After the patient has been evaluated and assessed, a physical therapist will create a personalized treatment plan to regain strength and mobility, along with exercises that the patient can do at home to prevent further injury.


chiropractors vs physical therapists

Chiropractic Philosophy and Treatment

When visiting a chiropractor, their focus is to realign and rebalance the body through the adjustment. Chiropractic care centers around the idea that spinal and nervous system alignment is the key to unlocking whole body health and healing. They focus on the musculoskeletal and nervous system, joints, muscles, tendons, and their functions.

There is no age restriction. Chiropractic Care helps build healthy families and can even be practiced on infants! To learn more, read our articles discussing how chiropractic care is good for kids and the benefits of chiropractic treatment for kids.

Chiropractors seek to alleviate pain, discomfort, and inflammation in the body through adjustments and balance the nervous system to promote health.

Another difference between a chiropractor vs. a physical therapist is that chiropractors don’t just seek to heal the body; they also aid in improving the function of the immune system and brain function. As a result, chiropractic care has been shown to help with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other emotional and neurological-based conditions.


When To See A Chiropractor Vs. Physical Therapist

Physical Therapy

As stated above, it is common to visit a physical therapist after an injury or as maintenance for a health condition. This visit tends to come with recommendations by a physician or surgeon. There will also, most likely, be a certain amount of time that you see a physical therapist. Once your physical therapist sees that you have plateaued or hit your maximum rehab ability, you will graduate from that session and be given tips and resources on maintaining that strength and preventing injury.


A significant difference between chiropractors vs. physical therapists is that chiropractic care is available at any time to their patients. 

A patient can see a chiropractor multiple times a week, for years if they choose. For example, those who suffer from carpal tunnel, headaches, arthritis, and more, will see a chiropractor for help alleviating the pain and maintaining that relief. Others might visit a chiropractor because they hurt their back or neck at work and need help with tightness, inflammation, and movement.

Regardless of the need for chiropractic care, you only need to set up an appointment through their office, no need for any other referrals. The chiropractor will assess and evaluate your conditions or injuries and create a treatment plan they believe will help you heal and feel better. 

The treatment plan may include variations of techniques like the torque release technique, which is gentle and precise.

Your plan may change throughout treatment depending on what is needed to keep you at your healthiest.


Want To Know More About Chiropractic Care? – Visit First Steps Today!

Here at First Steps Chiropractic in Hayden, ID, we know what it takes to help our patients live their best, healthiest lives. We seek to understand your pain and discomfort through adjustment and other hands-on techniques. Through this understanding, we can offer services that will enable you to heal and thrive.

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you move better and live better, review our previous articles like “3 Chiropractic Myths Debunked” and contact us to schedule an appointment!