Is Chiropractic Better Than Physical Therapy?

By Ben Loomis – DSC_9441.jpg, CC BY 2.0,

It’s the second most common reason for medical visits, with around 65 million Americans suffering from back pain. Combine this with 132 million people seeing a doctor every year to deal with issues with bone and joint health, and you have a strong need for quality rehabilitative care. Back, muscle and joint pain can be crippling and when you are in pain with minor fractures, soft tissue injury, whiplash, back and neck pain, migraines, and sports injuries, it can be hard to know where to go for support. The real question is, for musculoskeletal discomfort, should you see an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist, or a chiropractor?

The first step to fixing it is to determine the source of your discomfort, so a proper diagnosis is important. This means that when you are in pain, you should still see a medical doctor (and preferably an orthopedic surgeon) first to be examined. Physical therapy is also recommended once diagnosed and is truly the best bet for treating and curing many injuries.

In fact, physical therapy and physiotherapy are the same thing. Chiropractic therapies are also used, including physiotherapy, to correct and treat different physical problems, from back and hip pain to migraine headaches. Chiropractic treatment, however, allows you to keep coming back, while physical therapy is meant to avoid the recurrence of your issues. Physical Therapists are movement and function specialists and use recovery strategies to create plans for their patients to encourage the ability to move, alleviate pain, regain function, and avoid impairment. Physical therapy is chosen because it works on a broad variety of issues, from sports-related accidents to stroke-induced fatigue. The truth is, there is a much wider field of experience for physical therapy than for chiropractic care.

Here are some reasons why physical therapy comes out on top in the debate between physical therapy and chiropractic therapy.


Physical therapy requires extensive therapy of the entire body, or the area of concentration. PT helps patients recover the skills they had before they were injured. The amount of pain you are in can also be minimized by physical therapy. On the other hand, the nervous system, skeletal system, and the muscles in the body that enable movement are the subject of chiropractic treatment. Specifically, a physical therapist operates on the wounded area which encourages you to recover stamina, agility, range of motion and even develop endurance.

  1. Physical Therapists have Better Sets of Skills

Physical therapists are educated to do many of the same stuff that can be performed by chiropractors, but better. Acupuncture, acupressure, massage, water therapy, and exercises that stabilize the body can be carried out by well-trained physical therapists. A physical therapist may also develop specialized services specific to you to help you heal in no time and get back on your feet. Ice, sun, and ultrasound are also used by PT’s to treat injuries and restore function. Physical therapists often placed a strong focus on holistic therapies, unlike chiropractors, that will make the body stronger and healthier.

  1. Chiropractors Cannot Treat Many Problems

As their main form of treating injuries, chiropractors manipulate muscles. No other therapeutic methods are used by chiropractors in some cases. Physical trainers consider accidents or vulnerabilities that you did not know existed. In addition, in post-surgical recovery, physical therapists are trained designed to regain function in the area on which they were operated. Since chiropractors typically concentrate on spinal problems, in order to figure out if something else is wrong, they do not want to look at the whole picture.

  1. Chiropractors May Cause Additional Injury

Unfortunately, additional accidents may result from going to a chiropractor instead of a regular practitioner. Again, one aspect of the body, the muscles, are the target of chiropractors, to which many patients do not respond well. Out of the two, physical therapy will always be the best choice, since a physical therapist will solve the overall problem, helping you to heal and get you back on your feet and active. It is a more daunting process to become a physical therapist, as PTs are now expected to get a degree. Physical therapy appears to have better health providers paying it. Patients are better off with physical therapy than they are with a chiropractic clinic in almost all situations.

Are You Looking for Relief From Neck Pain? 

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in non-surgical neck pain relief and recovery therapies.  We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Our highly experienced physical therapist will work with you to improve your function and relieve your pain. We start by assessing the body as a whole. Oftentimes the cause of pain or an injury extends far beyond just the body part or muscle hurting. Without taking a comprehensive look at your entire self, we would be doing you a disservice in fully helping you heal and preventing future limitations. We then move on to fixing your areas of limitation.  Not all diagnoses are created equal. One person with neck pain may have completely different limitations than the next person. Your recovery program needs to be specific to what YOUR body needs and not just the typical exercise program that you can find online. Just because your pain decreases or you can walk longer doesn’t mean that it is enough to get you functioning at the level you want to be. While this often signifies the end of care at your typical PT clinic we don’t stop providing guidance until we help you successfully meet every goal you set for yourself with us on day one. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!