The Difference Between a Chiropractor and Physical Therapist - Family Practice McAllen
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The Difference Between a Chiropractor and Physical Therapist


Physical therapy (also called physiotherapy) and chiropractic care are similar in a few ways. Both treat and manage pain and stiffness in your body, and are done by licensed professionals.

However, our methods can vary.

Today, your McAllen chiropractors at Hendrick Wellness Center will take a closer look at the differences between a chiropractor and a physical therapist, as well as which option would be best for you.

The Similarities Between Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Care

Physical therapists and chiropractors share similar goals intended for patients, but they may go about accomplishing these goals in different ways.

Some of the similarities they share include:

  • Both focus on handling pain and discomfort through noninvasive and nonsurgical methods.
  • Both may use manual or hands-on therapy to take care of a specific condition.
  • Both may treat, or co-treat, the same conditions.
  • Both may focus on wellness plans for their patients outside of what they provide throughout a session.
  • Both look at your symptoms by taking your health history, examining you, and even requesting particular tests.
  • Both physical therapists and chiropractors are licensed health professionals with years of education and training.

The Job of a Physical Therapist

A physical therapist, also referred to as a PT, focuses on improving your ability to move and perform daily tasks without pain, which ultimately helps enhance your quality of life.

The goal of physical therapy is for you to get to the greatest level of movement possible to function in everyday life. PTs evaluate you, guide you in stretches and exercises, and educate you on how to remain active and healthy.

Physical therapy treatment may include:

  • An evaluation of your level of pain, flexibility, and movement.
  • Workouts, stretches, or hands-on manipulation to help you build strength and move better.
  • Posture education with instruction on ways to move to avoid injury or pain.
  • Heat or cold therapy and a handful of other modalities to decrease pain.
  • A wellness plan to better your overall health.

You may find that you only need a couple of sessions with a PT before you see an improvement in your condition. Or you might require long-term PT for more promising relief.

Your PT will review your progress and create a treatment plan for you.

The Purpose of PT

PT may be a beneficial treatment option if you:

  • Have limited movement as a result of:
    • an accident
    • injury
    • surgery
    • a health condition
  • Feel pain associated with movement.
  • Wish to maintain or raise your ability to move with ease.
  • Need to get stronger and fight the effects of a health condition, including:
    • osteoarthritis
    • rheumatoid arthritis
    • multiple sclerosis
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • stroke
    • COPD

PTs practice in several settings like:

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient clinics or offices
  • Athletic facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Schools
  • Workplaces
  • Homes

Different Kinds of PT

Physical therapists may specialize in a certain demographic like children or older adults. They may also focus on one type of condition, such as sports injuries or a specific health condition like:

  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Bone injuries and osteoporosis
  • Parkinson’s disease

Our Job as Chiropractors in McAllen

Chiropractors are licensed professionals with doctorate degrees who utilize a hands-on approach to alleviating pain and inflammation through the manipulation of parts of your body. The philosophy behind chiropractic care is that your body is able to heal on its own with interventions done by a chiropractor.

Chiropractic care, similar to physical therapy, doesn’t include taking medications or going through surgery. You may consider trying chiropractic care before agreeing to more invasive treatments.

Chiropractic care covers various health conditions for people of all ages. Its primary focus is on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.

A chiropractor may:

  • Evaluate symptoms based on a physical exam and tests.
  • Provide adjustments to areas of the body or use techniques like spinal manipulation to help decrease pain and inflammation.
  • Discuss other forms of treatment.
  • Recommend doing certain exercises at home or making lifestyle adjustments to reduce pain and inflammation.

The Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care may be a great treatment alternative if you experience:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Joint pain (like your knees, hips, elbow)
  • Headaches

Determining Which Therapy is Best for You

The best way to figure out which type of therapy is right for you depends on what condition you have and your unique needs.

Sometimes, based on your condition, you might even want to use both PT and chiropractic care to help eliminate pain and improve your quality of living.

It’s important to consult with your doctor when trying to choose what type of therapy you need. That way you can find out just how a particular therapy may be the solution to your symptoms.

Discover the Benefits of Chiropractic Care in McAllen At Hendrick Wellness Center

If you have pain or struggle to move around easily, speak with your doctor before setting up an appointment for an alignment. Once that is taken care of, you can stop by Hendrick Wellness Center in McAllen for high-quality chiropractic care.

Schedule Your Spinal Adjustment Today

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