What is the difference between a chiropractor and a physical therapist?

If you’re suffering from chronic pain or a sudden injury, you may be wondering if you should seek out the help of a chiropractor or a physical therapist. What many people don’t know is that these two professions are actually quite complimentary. While these two branches of therapy have different approaches, each one plays an important role in the healing process.

For patients living in North Jersey, Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy offers a comprehensive approach to healing, with both highly trained doctors of chiropractic as well as doctors of physical therapy and physical therapy assistants. And with four convenient locations throughout North Jersey, including offices in Oakland, Wayne, Fair Lawn, and Closter, North Jersey residents can receive all of the care they need close to home.

Wondering if you should go to physical therapy and a chiropractor at same time? Let’s explore more details about what chiropractors and physical therapists do so you can understand better how the two services complement each other.

What do Chiropractors do?

Chiropractic medicine is a safe, non-invasive alternative for patients suffering from pain or injury who would otherwise require surgery or prescription pain medication. A chiropractor focuses on the relationship between the spine and the rest of the nervous system. This holistic approach helps balance the body, ensuring it is in proper alignment, which can alleviate chronic conditions.  While the majority of a chiropractor’s work will involve the spine, they address many other issues as well.

Many patients visit a chiropractor to help relieve back pain stemming from issues with Sciatica, physical trauma, sports injuries and posture issues. They may also treat back spasms, muscle tension, whiplash and joint pain by helping reset the spine and improve the patient’s posture. Regardless of how these injuries have occured, a good chiropractor will work with you to design an effective recovery plan. Chiropractic care is always evolving as new technology emerges. For instance, Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy offers the Butler Spine Program, which uses state-of-the-art laser treatments to expedite healing.

Chiropractors also work to help prevent injury and provide long term solutions. Many of the services they provide aim to reduce chronic or acute pain, but they are also whole patient providers. This means that they will look at the patient’s lifestyle and make recommendations that will increase the patient’s quality of life. Chiropractors can also act as advocates, helping patients know what to do to avoid injury in the future. From migraine relief to allergies, asthma and PMS, there are many conditions that a chiropractor can help with beyond chronic pain and injuries. By enlisting a chiropractor as part of your wellness regime, you will have the support of a healthcare professional who prioritizes your overall well-being.

What do Physical Therapists do?

Physical therapists are medical professionals that help people recover their ability to move their bodies effectively. Chiropractors are the experts of the nervous system and physical therapists bring that same level of expertise to the musculoskeletal system. They have a deep understanding of what goes on under the skin and how bodies should be able to move. They work with patients who are recovering from trauma or surgery and work to give them full function of their bodies.

In order to determine what kind of therapy you might need, a physical therapist will take the time to learn about your lifestyle and habits, in order to develop a personalized recovery plan. This plan may address pain issues, problems with your range of movement or even neurological issues you may be dealing with. Regardless of the problem, physical therapists are there to help patients maintain a high standard of living.

Physical therapists help create plans using movement-based therapy. This kind of therapy focuses on specific parts of the body to help the patient regain any strength or movement they lost due to injury. Physical therapists often use their knowledge to create targeted therapies. These care plans vary greatly and involve everything from strength training to helping with balance.

The role of a physical therapist is important to any healing journey. While most of their time is spent helping people regain movement, they also play a huge role in patient education. Physical therapists can help with setting physical limitations, creating a nutrition plan and can even give advice about making lifestyle changes that can help with pain, stiffness and mobility issues.

Healing Works Best with a Combined Approach: Chiropractic and Physical Therapy

Is it worth it to see both a chiropractor and a physical therapist? In fact, together a chiropractor and a physical therapist make the ideal team for both pain management and recovery. Combining physical therapy with chiropractic care can accelerate rehabilitation and improve pain management. Your chiropractor will focus on aligning your spine and eliminating any joint dysfunction that can be responsible for nerve pain and irritation. In addition, physical therapy will help strengthen the musculoskeletal support system, which allows for more efficient healing and reduction of chronic pain. In other words, chiropractic care will focus on the spine while physical therapy helps to improve the strength and support of muscles and joints, making them a one-two punch against pain.

The Best Way to Combine Chiropractic Care and Physical Therapy is with Practice that Offers Both

Having your entire team of chiropractors and physical therapists on the same page is essential to streamlining your care and getting your back to yourself as quickly as possible. At Oakland Spine, our team of chiropractors and physical therapists collaborate together to create a unified approach that allows them to create a cohesive therapy plan. With four convenient locations in North Jersey from Oakland and Wayne to Fair Lawn and Closter, you can find an office that’s just a short drive from home. To better serve our patients we also offer evening and weekend hours to allow you to easily fit appointments into your schedule.