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The Differences Between Chiropractors and Physical Therapists

The Differences Between Chiropractors and Physical Therapists
March 21, 2020 / By medadmin

The Differences Between Chiropractors and Physical Therapists

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Chiropractors and physical therapists often treat the same areas of the body or similar conditions. This can cause patients to wonder what the difference is between the two professions. While both professionals may treat many of the same conditions, they differ in their perspectives on the focus and what methods they use to help their patients.


Chiropractic care focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the joints and spine. They focus more on how the joints specifically affect the nervous system and body alignment. There is a focus on adjusting joints and manipulating the spine to achieve relief, instead of relying on other, more invasive procedures. This is one of the things that attracts patients to them in the first place.

The term “chiropractic” means “to be done by hand,” which is where the focus is in this field. Additionally, chiropractors do not involve medications in their practice since they believe it is better not to rely on medications unless necessary.

To become a chiropractor, one must complete a Bachelor’s degree, receive a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from an accredited program, and pass a certification exam to receive their license.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists are often referred to as “movement specialists.” They focus on how the body functions and moves as a whole. As such, physical therapists perform both hands-on physical therapy in Baltimore, MD, as well as prescribe exercises to encourage healing. Hands-on therapy may include working soft tissue or even performing manipulations or adjustments like a chiropractor would. They also educate their patients on neuromuscular disorders and focus on self-managing symptoms along with healing independently.

It is interesting to note that this field arose from the nurses who helped soldiers heal following World War I and has helped many people who would have otherwise been unable to walk or function independently.

To become a physical therapist, the student must complete a Bachelor’s degree, receive a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from an accredited physical therapy program, and pass an exam to receive their license. Additionally, many physical therapists may choose to specialize in a certain field. This often requires several more years of education.

Becoming familiar with your health care providers and which areas they focus on is a great way to be an advocate for your health. Not only do physical therapists and chiropractors offer more natural solutions to invasive procedures or medications, but they also offer an extensive variety of other interventions and healthcare options.



Thanks to Mid Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic for their insight into chiropractic care and physical therapy.