Physical Therapists differ from Chiropractors primarily in the areas of philosophy of illness and in some treatment techniques. Physical therapists accept the same traditional medical view of health and disease that medical doctors do: that germs, genetics, diet, and lifestyle are among the primary causes of most illnesses. Classic chiropractic philosophy states that most diseases are linked to the spine. Many chiropractors are known for their use of high velocity forceful manipulations of the spine to correct spinal misalignments. Physical therapy treatments tend to use mobilizations (a less forceful manipulation) to restore joint alignment and motion. In conjunction with mobilizations, physical therapists work on the supporting tissues. The focus is also on therapeutic exercise and training patients to manage their lives in less destructive patterns. Patients with recent fractures, osteoporosis, muscle spasm and joint limitations are some of the problems that respond well to safely graded mobilization.
“I know what to do, I have had this before.”
“I talked to several people who had similar problems and they told me what to do.”
There are times when some simple suggestions or past experience will get you through. But each person is different and each episode is different as well. A physical therapist is highly skilled at assessing different body types, movement patterns, compensations, and postural alignments, and can safely direct you in the proper exercise, activities and body mechanics. Most importantly, through education you will learn more about your problem and will be able to manage it better in the future and know when to seek help.