Physiotherapy vs Chiropractor

Jun 2, 2020 | Guides

Undoubtedly, when you suffer daily from muscular, joint or skeletal pain, finding pain management solutions. Although many people treat will treat their specific pain-related conditions through medication, most health care professionals still recommend more natural solutions. For instance, the NHS website openly recommends physiotherapy and chiropractic therapy as a way to treat chronic pain.


Physiotherapy Leeds

However, like all illnesses, sometimes the treatment depends on the individual. Additionally, it can sometimes be a challenge when it comes to finding which option is right for you. Likewise, if you haven’t done your research, it can also make the decision of a physiotherapist versus a chiropractor a little more complicated. Thus, we have created this article to hopefully give you a better insight into the differences, as well as our view on which treatment option is better.


What is the Difference Between a Chiropractor and a Physiotherapist?

First, without sounding repetitive, understanding the difference between the two therapy options is essential. Primarily, when you understand your illness and the various treatment options, treating it will also become more manageable. Here at Circle 8 massage centre Leeds, we are advocates for natural pain relief and treatments, namely physiotherapy.

Although we might be biased, we still acknowledge the benefits of visiting a chiropractor. So, in this section, we will explain the key differences between the two therapy options. Likewise, it is worth noting that these therapies do have similarities and can overlap at times. Hopefully, by the end of this article, we will be able to assist you in selecting the most appropriate treatment for you.

Fundamentally, chiropractors and physiotherapists are there to help treat and manage Musculoskeletal and joint problems. Generally speaking, both professionals will have a similar aim, which is to boost the strength and movement of the muscles. However, there is one issue with chiropractic treatment when it comes to strengthening the muscles, which is that your muscles will remain stiff and tense.

Although you can outwardly state that the two professionals share a common goal. Yet, each profession has its own benefits and chances of being successful. As mentioned, we are pro-physiotherapy, which is why we are going to explain our reasoning behind it. Plus, we want to give you all the facts. First, we need to look at the main differences between the two.


So, yes, what is the difference?

Fundamentally, the big difference between the two professions is the method of treatment. Traditionally, a chiropractor will use a technique known as muscle manipulation. Whereas, a physiotherapist will likely use effective muscle mobilisation techniques. However, if we lost you at “muscle manipulation,” or “mobilisation techniques,” don’t worry as we will go into more detail about the two techniques.


What is Chiropractic Muscle Manipulation?

In principle, chiropractors will reply on their hands, in an attempt to adjust or manipulate your spine, limbs or muscles. The goal is to identify the areas that are restricting any movement or are the source of pains. On the whole, chiropractors will use gentler techniques to try and help restore the body to full function.


What are the Mobilisation Techniques in Physiotherapy?

Principally, a physiotherapist will already have a substantial knowledge base when it comes to human anatomy. Generally, there is not a specific treatment for each ailment, because a physiotherapist will implement a range of massage and muscle manipulation techniques to ensure that the body can heal. Ultimately, each treatment plan will have the goal to restore your body, so that it is fully functional. Still, we do feel that it’s worth mentioning that a sports therapy massage, is recommended to support, treat and manage a range of muscular-skeletal problems.


What Problems do Physiotherapists Treat?

Here at Circle 8 Massage, we treat an array of issues. But, to make it simpler, we have listed the most common problems.

  • Back, shoulder and neck pain
  • Arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Swollen joints
  • Sport injuries
  • Ligament or tendon damage
  • Cartilage
  • Repetitive strain injuries  


Three Reasons Why Physiotherapist are Better than Chiropractors

Now we have established the main differences between the two disciplines, we are now going to look at why physiotherapy is the better option. Yes, each therapy does have its own benefits, but you also need to keep in mind that physical and physiotherapy are ultimately the same. Although there is a significant differentiation, and that’s the fact that chiropractic treatments are mainly implemented to treat and/or correct physical problems.

Also, it’s worth noting that a requirement of chiropractic therapy, is that it needs to be used continuously to provide sufficient support. Whereas, a physiotherapist will treat your ailments with the intention to prevent these issues from occurring again. Likewise, it has been proven that some chiropractic treatments can actually worsen or hinder the recovery process. So, in this part of the article, we are going to give you our three top reasons as to why physiotherapist is better than a chiropractor when it comes to muscle or pain-related issues.  


1. Physiotherapy is More Inclusive

The first reason has to be that professionally speaking, a physiotherapist is educated and trained to understand human anatomy. Most professional physiotherapists will implement a range of comprehensive treatment options to ensure the best recovery outcome of their patient. Additionally, it is a well-known fact that physiotherapy can reduce the severity of pain.

Although a chiropractor might argue that the treatment options that they implement are focused on the skeletal and nervous system. However, this is where chiropractic therapy is restrictive because it has a central focus on the spine, even if the patient does or does not have a back injury. Thus, this is where physiotherapy wins, because chiropractors will work on adjusting the spine, even if the injury or issue is in the arm or leg.

Whereas, as a physiotherapist will not manipulate any areas of the body unless it benefits the patient. Finally, we feel that physiotherapy is more inclusive than chiropractic therapy because the physiotherapist will tailor a care and treatment plan that is specific to the patient. Not only that, but physiotherapist are also trained to treat an array of problems, not just pain. Therefore, when you use a professional massage therapist, you should expect a bespoke treatment plan. Ultimately, we can argue that physiotherapy is far superior. The reason for this is because a physiotherapist is trained to treat, heal and manage a range of issues, from sports injuries to strokes.


2. Physiotherapists Have Better Skill Sets

At the start of this blog, we explained that the two professions have a few similarities when it comes to treatment options. The primary reason that physiotherapy is better than chiropractic treatment is that physiotherapists are better trained and educated, compared to a chiropractor. What we mean is that physiotherapist are more diverse when it comes to their knowledge, training and methodology.

For example, if we refer back to when we said that chiropractors primarily focus on the spine, even if that’s not the afflicted area. Therefore, we feel that it can be strongly asserted that physiotherapist has a better skill set. Plus, we can also say that they are the outright “winners,” due to their capability of using various techniques. Likewise, we also believe that it is worth mentioning some of the techniques that most physiotherapists will use frequently.

  • Physiotherapy exercises
  • Mobilisation techniques
  • Sports Massage
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Electrotherapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure

Finally, we want to conclude that a well-trained physiotherapist will also be able to create a bespoke (or specialist) treatment plan. Although each patient is different, there is a reason why physiotherapy is far better than chiropractic treatment. And that’s the fact that well-trained physiotherapists will all strive to ensure that your issue does not return. Whereas a chiropractor only gives an interim relief and often requires more than one session. So, in sum, the second reason that physiotherapy is superior to chiropractic treatments is due to the extensive training and diverse skill set.


3. Chiropractic Therapy Might Be Detrimental

Sadly, there’s a misconception that a chiropractor can capably treat all pain-related injuries. However, visiting a chiropractor is detrimental when it comes to certain conditions. In fact, there’s been an array of research surrounding this view, but we also need to mention that we have researched it to an extent. The primary finding was that in some case chiropractic treatment actually resulted in more injuries, or it worsened the condition.

So, to reiterate, this is why you must understand the difference between the two specialisms. Moreover, it can be asserted that this is because most chiropractors will only focus on skeletal or muscle manipulation, with a focus around the spine. However, what is not well known is the fact that this type of treatment is not appropriate for all patients. Whereas, physiotherapy, (as mentioned above), relies on a vast knowledge base.

Not only that, but some physiotherapists will also diagnose the issue, to ensure they can tailor the best possible treatment plan. For example, physiotherapists will use an ultrasound to identify or examine:

  • Injuries
  • Weaknesses (prior, during and post-treatment)
  • Sore spots

Furthermore, this comprehensive investigation is then leveraged by the physiotherapist. Realistically, the difference is that chiropractors will go in “blind,” and start the treatment without a thorough investigation. Plus, we believe that even if you have a spine-related injury, it is still recommended to visit a physiotherapist, because they will investigate all aspects of your ailment.


The Bottom Line

Right, so we have now reached the point of this article, which is answering the “million-dollar” question: is physiotherapy better than chiropractic therapy? Well, in our opinion, yes it is a far superior, comprehensive natural treatment option. Although this topic is still up for debate, many medical professionals agree with our viewpoint.

Thus, we believe that physiotherapy is better than chiropractic treatments, due to the fact a physiotherapist can do much more. Finally, we feel it’s worth mentioning that when you’re looking for a physiotherapist that you should do your research. For instance, check the reviews, ensure that they are fully qualified. The bottom line is that we believe that a physiotherapist is superior to a chiropractor.

Not sure of which one to book, start with a Sports massage with the team at Circle8 as most likely we will be able to help you and if we can’t we can recommend the next specialist to see.

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When you come for a massage at Circle8 we don’t just treat your issue and send you away, we find out exactly which movements and muscles are causing it, explain to you what’s actually happening, give you exercises in the gym and at home that you can do to help alleviate and eventually get rid of your issue.