Many people have heard of both physical therapy and chiropractic care. However, they may be unaware of their differences, similarities and how the two health specialties work together to help patients relieve their pain.
Physical Therapy (PT)
Physical therapists (PTs) see a wide range of patients as they treat all moving parts and muscles in the human body. Patients often benefit from PT if they have orthopaedic issues such as back or knee pain, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and dizziness or are experiencing pelvic health issues such as urinary incontinence. Additionally, patients who have recently had surgery often will undergo PT to aid in their recovery. PT can help you recover faster, heal properly, regain strength and increase blood flow to avoid blood clots post-surgery.
The goal of PT is to improve mobility and the ability to perform everyday tasks with ease. Targeted and specific exercises are often used as the main form of treatment with manual therapy as an assistive measure. PTs will carefully assess the quality of your static (body at rest) and dynamic (body ready for motion) body positioning. After this assessment, PTs create an exercise regimen designed to improve any issues they detect, to be performed under the supervision of the therapist and done at home diligently.
As chiropractors the most common reason people seek care are neck pain, back pain, and headaches, however, chiropractors are also able to treat a wide range of pain in the body and improve overall function. To do so, they look at the entire musculoskeletal system to find out what might be causing the discomfort. Chiropractors can also help manage pain from migraines, nerve compression and arthritis.
Chiropractic care often includes manipulations and adjustments. Chiropractors perform adjustments by using their hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled amount of pressure to the targeted area of the body. The pressure makes the joint go slightly beyond its normal range, as a result, loosening the joint. Manipulation also helps realign the body to reduce pain and provide a wider range of motion.
Some problems may not need manual manipulation, so a chiropractor is trained to also use a variety of other conservative management techniques such as soft tissue therapies, stretching, acupuncture, and exercise programing.
In some situations, PTs and Chiropractors work together to treat a patient. In most of these instances, a patient can expect to see a chiropractor for manual therapy such as manipulation/adjustment and physical modalities to reduce pain and allow for improved mobility before seeing a therapist for a skilled exercise or rehabilitation program.
Both PTs and Chiropractors utilize manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue massage with hands or an instrument, physical modalities (heat, ice, electric stimulation or ultrasound), dry needling and blood flow restriction training. In addition, both often teach their patients exercises and lifestyle modifications to ease their pain while away from the office.
The biggest similarity is the goal of restoring movement. Both PTs and chiropractors listen to what challenges the patient is having with their activities of daily living, recreational goals and assess if there are any joint mobility or muscular tightness/weakness issues contributing to those challenges.
Have your lingering pain addressed by scheduling an appointment with a chiropractor or physical therapist by calling 630−790−1872 for Chiropractic and 630−967−2000 for Physical & Occupational Therapy.