Well, you’ve been injured and you need treatment. Or perhaps you have a chronic health condition. You’ve already been to your medical Doctor who gave you a prescription to moderate the pain and to deal with the lack of flexibility you’re experiencing.
And… You Did the Right Thing!
However, you also feel that you need additional healthcare assistance to deal with the pain and you want to strengthen your core so that this injury doesn’t reoccur.
And indeed, it’s a good question. Both forms of treatment offer assistance to patients, and sometimes Chiropractors and Physiotherapists work together to treat an individual.
This article covers some of the differences between the two physical therapies so you can decide which one is right for you.
A natural approach to health and healing
You like that both offer non-invasive, drug-free, manual techniques, that are specifically developed to improve your physical health and wellbeing. Both disciplines are a ‘hands on’ approach to healing that aims to help the body heal itself. You see, we all have an inner ability to heal and recover after injury or trauma.
Some of us recover faster then others while some people require a little more help. There are many factors that may delay the recovery process such as your age, weight, how long you have been injured for, your posture habits and how serious your injury is.
Both chiropractic and physiotherapy aim to relieve pain and increase movement. When you compare and contrast this approach to medicine and prescription painkillers, you can see the difference. Medicine is the study of disease and symptoms whereas chiro and physio is the study of movement, function and form.
Qualifications and Experience
Note: Chiropractors are required to obtain a degree which takes 5 years to complete and are regulated by a local board while Physiotherapists must have a bachelor degree in Physiotherapy (usually 4 years) and must register with their local agency.
You should look for a therapist who is indeed qualified (you can look this up with the local regulation authority) and who has experience in dealing with cases similar to yours. Say you have headaches and migraines: consider a therapist who has previous experience in dealing with these cases. Or try a therapist who specialises in treatment for this condition.
Please also check on their website for their qualifications, how long they have been in business and if you would feel comfortable in their clinic.
It may also be useful to phone the therapist prior to committing to any treatment and to ask them questions. It can be a very personal decision in choosing a chiropractor or physiotherapist so you want to make sure you make the right decision.
Physiotherapy practitioners specialise in the diagnosis, management and prevention of movement disorders and their goal is to rehabilitate and normalize your ability to move and function. Physios are anatomy experts and they use that knowledge to diagnose and treat your injury or condition.
They are best known for treating sports-related injury, typically affecting the neck and spine, but they also work with babies, including premature babies, and with stroke victims of any age, and those with other injuries to the brain, neck or spine. They also treat people with conditions such as arthritis, cystic fibrosis and Parkinson’s disease.
You will need a referral from your medical Doctor to see a public hospital Physiotherapist although there is no charge if you’re a patient there (in patient visit). If you visit a private practice Physiotherapist expect to pay around $80. per visit (outpatient visit). Your company’s private health insurance provider may pick up some or all of this charge but contact them in advance to be certain.
A Doctor of Chiropractic specializes in the diagnosis, correction and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders, which can also work to improve nervous system function but only where that is impaired by misalignment.
Chiropractors use spinal and neck manipulations and other forms of hands-on care such as ultrasound, special exercises, and advice that is designed to help you avoid those movements or situations that may cause you repeated injury or discomfort.
Most people associate chiropractic with back injury therapy, but Chiropractors also treat a variety of symptoms that may stem from sports or work-related injury, repetitive movement injury, or chronic conditions. It’s best to be candid with your Chiropractor about all your health challenges so that he or she can apply their unique knowledge to your health situation.
You may, or may receive a referral from your medical Doctor, but a referral isn’t required as Chiropractors work in private practice for their patients. Expect to pay around $100. for an initial consultation and up to $80. per visit thereafter. Your company’s private health insurance provider may pick up some or all of this charge but contact them in advance to be certain.
So, is it a chiropractor or a physiotherapist for you? There are differences between the two therapies. Chiropractors focus more on your spine and treat health problems with a manual adjustment.
Physiotherapists look at your muscles and how you function and tend to treat with massage, stretching and exercise.
At the end of the day, if you are looking for a more natural approach to your healthcare needs, consider a manual therapist in combination with your traditional medical advice.