Back Treatment Options: The Difference Between Chiropractics and Physical Therapy

Posted by Bethaney Wallace on 21st Feb 2014

With the onset of “going green,” natural options are spilling into more than just energy efficiency. Folks are shopping for food that provides less waste, traveling in carpools or by bike rather than walking, and they’re making conscious decisions to take better care of themselves. That means organic veggies, daily vitamins, and an array of more health-conscious decisions. Part of this decision means opting for natural treatments (that are still effective), rather than medicines or chemicals. By avoiding painkillers or muscle relaxers, patients can have a better idea as to what they put in their body each and every day. And without medicines, they can also eliminate side effects – or locate which substances were causing them in the first place.

And with alternative options that offer just as much pain relief, those of areas of injuries are jumping on the natural cure train and never looking back.

Two such natural cures come in the form of chiropractics and physical therapy – both of which offer physical changes that can help reduce patient pain. Though they offer similar forms of relief without the help of medicine, each is a very different form of treatment.

What Are Chiropractics?

For those with chronic pains or a single incident, seeing a chiropractor may just be the cure you’re looking for. With each visit, patients are popped or put back into place – generally in the spine – to avoid ongoing pains. First, the doctor will ask what a person’s symptoms may be, then they’ll work with each patient to find a cure by putting their bones back into place.

This can be done with the doctor’s hands, by placing pressure on the out-of-whack area, or by a “clicking” device, which realigns the bones in a much more gentle manner. However, each version offers sudden changes, which can provide swelling. Oftentimes patients are encouraged to ice the adjusted area for a day or two afterwards.

The Benefits

By seeing a chiropractor, patients can receive instant results. This can lead the body to better supporting itself without the need of everyday movements or medical routines. Patients undergoing this treatment also say that over time, visits become less necessary, as the body learns to maintain alignment. This means less swelling (as the bones aren’t moving as far), less pain, and fewer doctor visits.

Chiropractors are medically trained and must earn a specific four-year chiropractic degree (after receiving a related bachelor’s degree) before actively practicing.

What is Physical Therapy?

In contrast to its medical counterpart, physical therapy is a practice that works to create preventative measures. By performing specific exercises and stretches, patients can work to stop pain before it happens. Trained professionals work with individuals to see what type of behavior is causing their pain, and then come up with a viable schedule to help keep that activity at bay.

Generally, patients come in for a weekly or bi-weekly appointment, depending on the severity of their pain. They will then work with the doctor for an allotted amount of time, and receive a daily routine to perform at home. That way benefits are still being had, whether or not the patient is with their physical therapist.

The Benefits

Because it’s learned behavior, patients work to move in a more body-conscious manner. Over time, physical therapy can reduce pain directly from the source. However, oftentimes this can be hard to achieve, especially in those with long-term injuries.

Physical therapists, too, are doctors and must receive a long-term degree. Physical therapist assistants can also help with ongoing patients, and require a two-year degree before starting patient work. [AuburnPub]

Whichever option a patient chooses, both chiropractics and physical therapy offer a proven natural option to help clear up back pains.