The Differences Between Chiropractors and Physiotherapists

Although chiropractors and physiotherapist are very similar, there are some key differences with their school of thought and their approach to patient treatment. Both physiotherapy and chiropractic care are primary healthcare professions. They both use neurological and orthopedic diagnostic methods similar to those used by traditional medical practitioners to examine and diagnose their patients.

In spite of these similarities, there are key differences in how the patient is viewed and approached.


Chiropractic treatment

Chiropractors specialize in the spine, neck, and head, and as such, are quite a bit more specialized than physiotherapists in this area. The need for a chiropractor is usually predicated by injury to the upper body that affects the spine or neck. Injuries can include slips and falls, auto accidents, athletic injuries, and simple stress. Chiropractors are also seen for preventative measures, as well. Physiotherapists are typically part of a larger rehabilitation effort and are rarely seen as a stand-alone practitioner.


Chiropractors will use several different adjustment techniques to correct any skeletal misalignment that they find. They seek primarily to re-align the spine and relieve any pressure on the many nerves that originate there. This is to allow normal movement as well as a natural flow of energy through the nervous system. This is thought to promote the body’s natural ability to heal itself without the use of drugs and surgery.



Physiotherapy Newmarket is a much broader discipline than is chiropractic. It emphasizes functional movement of the entire body, rather than specializing in one area. Physiotherapy is a very broad-based discipline. Physiotherapists work with a wide range of conditions, ranging from sports injuries to post-operative rehabilitation.


Physiotherapists use techniques designed to restore a person to full mobility. Examples include helping a person learn to walk again after a lengthy time in a wheelchair, or restoring range-of-motion in the injured shoulder of a Rugby player. Physiotherapists have in-depth knowledge of how the body works and specialized hands-on clinical skills and often work in teams with other health professionals to help meet a patient’s health care needs. They typically can be found in a larger health care setting, such as a hospital or rehabilitation clinic.


There is a lot of overlap between the two professions. Both chiropractors and physiotherapists treat joint and skeletal problems to increase movement and strength, decrease pain and help return you to full function. The main difference between the two types of practitioners is that a chiropractor uses manipulation that focuses mainly on the spine, where a physiotherapist will use mobilization techniques and can treat the entire body, as part of a larger team.

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