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Millions of people deal with body pain daily. Whether it’s from work-related stress or an old injury, finding relief can be a challenge. Some people turn to physical therapy, while others opt for chiropractic care in Medina. But what’s the difference between the two? And which one is right for you?

woman doing physical therapy

What is physical therapy and what does it involve?

Physical therapy is a type of treatment that uses exercises and activities to improve movement and function, relieve pain, and prevent or manage illness or injury. It can be used to treat a wide range of health conditions, including neck pain, back pain, joint pain, sports injuries, arthritis, heart disease, respiratory problems, and more. Physical therapists use a variety of techniques to improve movement and function, including exercises, stretches, massage, heat therapy, cold therapy, and electrical stimulation.

People who receive physical therapy are often referred to a therapist by their doctor or other health professional. But you can also contact a therapist directly if you have an injury or illness, or for help with an exercise program before or after surgery or pregnancy.

What is chiropractic care and what does it involve?

Chiropractic care is based on the idea that the body’s functions are interconnected and influence one another. The theory behind chiropractic treatment is that communication between the brain and spinal cord becomes disrupted when the spine twists out of its natural position (called subluxation). This interferes with signals sent through your nervous system to organs and other parts of the body, which causes problems like pain, weakness, fatigue, numbness, or tingling. Chiropractors use their hands to adjust the spine and other joints that are not moving properly. This manual adjustment is believed to help restore communication between the brain and spinal cord.

When chiropractic treatment begins, you’ll typically have a consultation with your chiropractor first. During this time, he or she will ask about your medical history and symptoms you’re experiencing so they can better diagnose the reason for your pain. After they identify where the issue is coming from, they’ll develop a plan of action with you—such as an exercise regimen or recommendations on how often to return for adjustments—and write it down in a chart before giving any treatment.

You may feel some discomfort during your chiropractic treatment, but it shouldn’t be painful. If you feel pain, tell your doctor immediately so he or she can adjust the treatment accordingly.

How do physical therapy and chiropractic care compare?

Many people assume that physical therapy and chiropractic care do the same thing—help treat body pain and injuries—but there are some differences between them. Physical therapists help heal general problems like neck and back pain; sports injuries; arthritis; heart disease; muscle, bone, or joint issues; respiratory problems; or workplace stressors like repetitive motion disorders or postural issues. Chiropractors treat more specific types of ailments such as nerve pressure caused by a herniated disk in your back which leads to tingling in your arms and legs; an injury to your knee that’s causing pain in your lower back, or a spinal misalignment which is causing pain and stiffness in your neck.

While physical therapists and chiropractors help you stay healthy, they go about it in different ways. Physical therapy focuses on movement—helping you stretch, move, walk, and strengthen muscles so you can learn how to properly function again when injured. It also includes helping you reduce stress and improve posture (if needed). On the other hand, chiropractic care aims to address the underlying problems affecting your health. They do this through manual adjustments of their patients’ spines and joints which are believed to help them heal quicker from illnesses and injuries.

man getting laser treatment

Factors patients should consider when choosing between physical therapy and chiropractic care

When you’re deciding which type of therapy to seek out for help with an injury or illness, there are a few factors you should consider: 

  1. How long you’ve been experiencing symptoms
  2. The severity of your symptoms
  3. What type of injury or illness do you have
  4. Your insurance coverage
  5. The location of the nearest physical therapy or chiropractic clinic
  6. Your personal preference

For example, if you’ve had symptoms for a short period and they aren’t severe, you might try using ice or heat therapy to help the problem. If the issue is more serious—such as pain that lasts 24 hours a day or causes numbness in your legs—you may want to seek professional help right away instead of trying over-the-counter remedies first. It’s also important to consider your insurance coverage because many plans don’t cover chiropractic care while most physical therapy visits are often covered by insurance. Finally, you might want to choose between physical therapy or chiropractic based on convenience since some physical therapists run their private practices while most chiropractors are part of a larger clinic.

There is no definitive answer as to which is better, physical therapy or chiropractic care. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. It all comes down to personal preference. This is where Advanced Spine Joint and Wellness come in! As a chiropractor serving Medina and its surrounding communities, our team has helped people find relief from body pain for decades. We know the difference between physical therapy and chiropractic care because we’ve tried both ourselves before deciding on one or the other as a career path. Let us help you get back on your feet with an appointment today–no matter what type of treatment you’re looking for, we have experts that can provide it. Remember, if you want personalized attention to your needs and goals while getting world-class service, just give us a call at (330) 721-6504!