Some people often question if Chiropractors are similar to Physical therapist. Well! The reality is that though both these professions are involved in treating pain and injury; there are differences in their education, philosophy as well as clinical expertise as they aid their client in achieving the best recovery and pain-relief. More about the differences between chiropractors and physical therapists will be mentioned in the following arrays of the article.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences worth Knowing

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Basic Differences

Chiropractors perform the spinal manipulation and help you in proper maintenance of your body joints and movements. He is a professional engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the body musculoskeletal system.

Physical therapist however involves with exercises and helps you return to normal function. Physical therapist is a medical professional who offers treatment in restoring mobility and function in case of injury, disease, and also caused due to aging. A physical therapist is also known as physiotherapist.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences Based on Residency and Internship

Chiropractor undergoes 1 year of internship that coincides with clinical courses while in the training. There is no residency required for chiropractors, though they have the option of completing it if accepted and if desire to.

All curriculums for physical therapists require having a minimum of 30 weeks of full time internship. Here, Residencies exist in all specialities which are certified by The American Board of Physical Therapy Residence and Fellowship Education.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences Based on Practice

Chiropractors generally go for private practice clinic. Yet, some of them are employed by health systems and hospitals. Chiropractors may perform Generalist practice, orthopaedic related practice, neurology related practice and general alignment restoration dealing with the skeletal system of the body.

Physical therapist practice in Inpatient/Outpatient Neurologic Rehab, Acute Care, General Outpatients, Pediatrics, Orthopedic, Geriatrics, Veterans Affairs, Sport Medicine, Military, Women's & Men's Health, Work Rehab, Wound care, electrophysiology etc.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences Based on Ability to Prescribe Medication

Chiropractors cannot prescribe medications. Though, recently New Mexico allowed limited prescription rights to the Chiropractors.

Physical Therapists do not prescribe medications unless in the Military. However, all Physical Therapists are tested on pharmacology

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences Based on Medical Licensing Examination

Chiropractors clears NBCE or National Board Exam, Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV(Practical) and State boards.

Physical Therapist clears the National Physical Therapy Exam or NPTE which is administered by the Federation of State Boards.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences Based on Years of Medical School

Chiropractors study 3-4 undergraduate years (Bachelor's required), 2-4 years in Chiropractic school, 1 year residency; or a minimum of 6-7 years of medical schooling.

Physical Therapists go for 3 academic years of study. All of them go for accredited Physical Therapy programs, requiring a Bachelor's degree. These medical professional also spend 7 years of their medical schooling before actually practicing physical therapy.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences Based on Treatment Techniques

Chiropractors perform chiropractic adjustments (Grade1-V) that ranges from soft tissue mobilization to joint adjustment. Their treatments also include the use of therapeutic modalities and exercise which is a common adjunct to spinal manipulation and massage.

Physical therapists perform all manual therapy techniques which includes joint manipulation, soft-tissue mobilization etc. All therapeutic modalities, gait training, sports performance, neurologic rehabilitation, muscle coordination & performance, massage, wound care, cardiovascular rehab etc are some of the treatment techniques performed by physical therapists.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences Based on Status

Chiropractors are not medical doctors however in some states, they are considered for insurance purposes.

Physical therapists are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medication. Insurance companies also consider Physical therapists as specialty practitioners.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences Based on General Expertise

Chiropractors are known to be experts in adjustments of the spine. They also extend their knowledge in to the scope of Physical therapy as well as general medicine and also radiology and neurology.

Physical therapists are experts in human movements and restoration of all movement related dysfunctions. Physical therapists also have their knowledge extending in to the scope of Chiropractic and General Medicine.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences Based on Surgery

Chiropractors can perform minor surgery in some states. Chiropractors are non-pharmacologic and non-surgical clinicians who are experts at conservative treatments within their practice scope. However, they perform MUA in surgical setting.

Physical Therapists can work on wound care. Their work is limited to debridement of tissue and does not perform surgery. Physical therapists are movement scientists and non-pharmacologic, non –surgical experts who make use of conservative treatments within their practice scope.

Chiropractor Vs physical Therapist: Differences on Specialities

Chiropractors are specialized in orthopaedics, General Rehab, Pediatrics, Internal Disorders, Neurology, Radiology, Occupational Health, Nutrition, Sports Medicines, and Forensic Sciences.

Physical Therapists have specializations in Orthopedics, Sports medicine, Pediatrics, Women's Health, Geriatrics, Neurology, Cardiovascular and pulmonary (COPD), Clinical Electrophysiology.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences Based on Diagnosis

Chiropractors diagnose joint subluxation complexes, most of the medical conditions, depending on state law.

Physical therapists diagnose movement, musculoskeletal as well as functional related conditions within their practice scope.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist: Differences Based on their Use and Application of Chiropractic Manipulation and Physical Therapy

Chiropractors are the only practitioners with the expertise in Chiropractic Adjustments. In most states, Chiropractors perform therapeutic modalities.

Physical Therapists are the only practitioner having expertise in providing physical therapy. If they have the appropriate training then in many states, Physical therapists may practice manipulation.

Also Read:

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: April 29, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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