• Tanvi Desai

What is the difference between Chiropractic & Physiotherapy?

Updated: 6 days ago



As a chiropractor, I am often asked about the difference between Chiropractic and Physiotherapy. Although there are some core similarities in both disciplines, their approaches can be different. And if you are dealing with joint stiffness or muscle pain, knowing the difference between these two treatments can help you make the right choice! Let me help you out


The goals

Pain relief, restoring motion, and realigning the spine are the primary goals of chiropractic care. Using the right adjustments, top chiropractors will aim to improve the quality of your life.

Coming to physiotherapy–pain-free movement, injury prevention, and rehabilitation lie at its center. One of the main aims of a physical therapist is to help you regain mobility.

Approach and methods

As you might have noticed, there are more similarities than differences when it comes to the “goal” of chiropractors and PTs. But looking at the primary methods under each discipline, more differences are evident.

For a chiropractor, the spine is central to your treatment. And we use hands-on manipulations to treat spinal subluxations, lower back pain, neck pain, headaches, or frozen shoulders. The idea is that realigning the musculoskeletal system back to its natural state allows the body to heal itself.

A physical therapist helps you perform a routine of exercises and stretches to improve your condition. The patient is given home exercise programs he/she could perform to speed up the recovery. Although there can be some manipulations involved, they are not central to physiotherapy.

Instruments and settings

Depending on the patient’s requirements, a chiropractor might need a specialized space or equipment. For instance, we often use special chairs or tables for gentler and more “precise” spinal alignments. And depending on your preferences, we use chiropractic instruments like Activators for manipulation–instead of hands-on techniques.

The treatment of a physical therapist will work in just about any setting. There are not many instruments or specialized equipment involved. The routines prescribed by a PT can be performed at your home as well!

Spinal alignments

How to choose?

Knowing when to see a chiropractor or PT is important. Here are some things you may keep in mind

Why visit a chiropractor

- Acute or chronic back pain

- Joint pain and restricted movement

- Acute or chronic neck pain

- Tension headache or migraine

Why visit a physical therapist

- Limited movement due to some injuries

- Motion-induced pain

- For relief from the effects of stroke, arthritis, or Parkinson’s disease

We can help

Please know that both chiropractic and physiotherapy are gentle and natural answers to managing your pain. Depending on your requirements, either one of them might be the “better” choice for you. And we can help you find out!

Dr. Tanvi Desai will analyze your condition and see whether chiropractic or physiotherapy will be right for you. At Lotus Chiropractic Care, you always come first.

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