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Chiropractors vs. Physical Therapists: Who's Got Your Back?

Here it comes, the most annoying answer to this difficult question….it depends!


Okay, here me out. One of the most beautiful things about the Chiropractic and Physical Therapy professions, is that the scope of practice for us is vast! There is so much room for individual therapists to practice exactly how they want to. That’s why we see things like, pelvic floor PT, upper cervical chiropractors, pediatric and pregnancy specific chiros and PT’s, rehab or Sports Chiropractors, exercise-only Physical Therapists, insurance, non-insurance, the list goes on. Sometimes it’s really nice to find a very niche practitioner, because then you know exactly what you are getting. Or better yet, when you need something very specific, it’s out there for you!


If you really want to get into the weeds of it, I would say that the schooling for a physical therapist and a chiropractor are relatively the same. They both focus on the anatomy, pathology, assessment, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. I believe that in Chiropractic education, there is a stronger and longer emphasis on manipulation, whereas in Physical Therapy education, the emphasis is more on passive modalities and exercise.


But circling back to what I said earlier, the scope of practice is wide for both professions and each clinician has the freedom to practice how they like. So that means, you might have someone like me, who is a Chiropractor, but puts more focus and emphasis on rehab and soft tissue therapies, rather than manipulation (this just means a Chiropractic adjustment of a joint). Do I still adjust my patients? Yes of course, but only if I deem it necessary. For me, it’s not the end all be all. Or, that could mean you have a Physical Therapist who does adjustments at every appointment. Catching my drift? There is a ton of overlap between the two professions and at the end of the day, the right clinician for you, is the one who is a qualified professional who understands your needs and approaches your healing journey the way YOU want.


In my honest opinion, you should be hard pressed to find a difference between a great Physical Therapist and a great Chiropractor. However, that is not totally the case. And this is not good, nor bad, just emphasizes how different each person can be with their treatment approaches.


That being said, I want to direct you to my other blog post called "The Rehab-Based Chiropractor's Approachso you can get a better understanding of what I (Dr. Erin Hallahan), do as a Rehab-based Chiropractor.


Or, if you want to discuss if my care is right for you, book a free phone consultation and let's discuss!


Call or text 619-333-9909 or visit this link to schedule an appointment and let's get movin'!


Your San Diego Chiropractor,

Dr. Erin 🤍


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