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Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Care: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to your health, there are several options for health care. This includes everything from traditional to holistic care. Whether you are recovering from a recent surgery, injury, or just want to improve your health, your doctor may suggest physical therapy and chiropractic care. Keep reading to discover the differences between these popular, drug-free, and non-invasive treatments.

Physical Therapy vs. Chiropractic Care

When comparing the two, it’s important to look at how the treatments are alike. For example, physical therapy (or physiotherapy) and chiropractic both treat and manage pain and stiffness in the body. Physical therapists and chiropractors are also both health experts with years of specialized training. Both treatments are drug-free and non-invasive, which makes it an excellent option for the whole family. Let’s now discuss the differences between the two treatments.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist or PT helps a patient regain function and mobility, as well as reduce pain. Thus, this helps improve the patient’s quality of life. A main goal of this therapy is for patients to achieve the highest level of mobility possible. With improved mobility, patients find it easier to function in everyday life. Physical therapy involves evaluating a patient’s needs, creating a treatment plan, helping the patient perform stretches and exercises, and educating them on how to maintain a healthy life.

Physical therapy usually includes:

  • Evaluating a patient’s needs, such as their pain, flexibility, and mobility
  • Performing exercises, stretches, or hands-on manipulation treatments to help strengthen a patient’s muscles and thus, boost mobility
  • Educating patients about proper posture and injury and pain prevention tips
  • Using heat or cold therapy and other techniques to reduce pain
  • Maintaining a wellness treatment plan to improve the patient’s overall health


The number and frequency of PT sessions you need depends on your health conditions and how fast you regain function and mobility. Typically, patients will notice an improvement after a few sessions. Since this is a drug-free and non-invasive treatment, you will not experience rapid pain-relief like you do with pain-relief medications. However, these medications have unpleasant side effects and only mask the pain symptoms of an underlying condition. 

Like other health professionals, physical therapists must earn a doctorate degree in physical therapy (DPT) to become licensed. PTs can work in various places, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, sports facilities, rehabilitation centers, schools, and even businesses. These professionals can specialize in PT, such as sports injury.

Why Choose Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a good treatment for patients that:

  • Have limited mobility due to an accident, injury, recent surgery, or health condition
  • Have pain related to mobility
  • Want to maintain or improve their mobility
  • Need to build strength and address the challenges of a health condition, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, or COPD

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractors are licensed health professionals with doctorate degrees that use a holistic approach to help identify and treat a patient’s health concerns, such as pain, stress, or an illness. Chiropractors focus on the musculoskeletal and nervous system of the body. A primary goal of chiropractic is to allow the body to heal itself naturally with the help of natural chiropractic adjustments. This care is a drug-free and non-invasive option that’s safe and gentle for people of all ages.

Chiropractic care typically includes:

  • Evaluating a patient’s symptoms based on a physical exam and tests
  • Performing adjustments to specific areas of the body like spinal manipulations designed to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as prevent pain and injury
  • Discussing other types of treatment with patients
  • Recommending specific exercises to strengthen muscles, reduce pain and inflammation, and maintain lasting health and wellness


How many chiropractic adjustments you need depends on your health condition and how fast you start to feel better. In general, patients notice an improvement within a few appointments. Chiropractic is also a drug-free and non-invasive treatment, so you won’t experience rapid pain-relief like you do with pain-relief medications. However, these harsh medications have unpleasant side effects and only temporarily mask pain symptoms.

Chiropractors must also earn a doctorate degree to become licensed. They can work in various settings, such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, sports facilities, rehabilitation centers, schools, and businesses. These holistic experts can specialize in various types of chiropractic, such as sports injury, prenatal, and pediatric care.

Why Choose Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care is a great option for patients that:

  • Have back, neck, or joint pain
  • Have migraines or headaches
  • Have mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression
  • Want to maintain or achieve lasting health and wellness
  • Need to identify and treat an underlying health condition that is impacting their quality of life
  • Want to avoid using harsh drugs or  invasive surgeries


Which Therapy Is Best for You?

The therapy that is best for you depends on your specific health goals, budget, and lifestyle. Depending on your health needs, you may find that a combination of physical therapy and chiropractic care is an excellent way to achieve better health and wellness, as well as improve your mobility and flexibility. As always, it’s recommended that you talk with your doctor to determine the best type of therapy for you. Physical therapy focuses more on how the body moves and functions. PTs use exercises, stretches, and hands-on manipulations to help you regain your function and mobility, as well as reduce your pain. However, chiropractic focuses on treating disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and uses various techniques to help your body heal itself naturally.

As you can see, there are several benefits of both types of treatment. If you are looking for the best Lakeville chiropractors near you, look no further than Enlighten Chiropractic. Our expert team is ready to help you heal from the inside out!


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