Should go see a Physiotherapist or a Chiropractor? This is a question posed by many.
So what is the difference, please read on to find out more.
When dealing with chronic ( ongoing) pain or a new (acute) injury, it’s important to seek professional treatment to help you heal, avoid further damage, and prevent reoccurring injuries in the future. We know with so many so many different treatment options and medical professionals to choose from, it can be difficult to know what to do or who to see.
If you’re suffering from chronic (ongoing) neck, back or extremity pain (arms or legs), you may choose to seek therapy to help correct spine, nerve, and muscle concerns. Physiotherapy and Chiropractic care can help in this instance.
Both treatment approaches have important similarities and differences to be aware of before deciding on a treatment type. Please read on to hear of the different purposes and benefit of these specific treatment approaches.
Chiropractic care is a form of rehabilitation therapy that treats the musculoskeletal system (your bones, cartilage, joints, muscles and tendons). The musculoskeletal system is what allows you to move while protecting vital organs, blood vessels and nerves.
When an injury or impairment affects any part of this system, a chiropractor can manipulate specific joints to provide pain relief and improve mobility. Many may also perform deep tissue work as well to target muscles and tendons.
Physiotherapy, also called physical therapy (in the USA). Physiotherapists will assess your range of motion, strength, joint mobility, posture, muscle length and consistency (are there adhesions or trigger points), gait (walking pattern), and posture.
If there are any impairments to any/all the above it can greatly effect pain, stiffness, strength, endurance, athletic performance, quality of life and so on.
Our body has an amazing way of compensating. For example, if you have one joint that isn’t moving properly than the body can compensate by having the movement come from above and /or below joints. Then before you know it you have multiple areas that need treatment and correction.
This is why it is good to come in just for stiffness so that the body doesn’t compensate and then cause pain in the future.
One neat fact is that the pain that you are experiencing isn’t necessarily the area that started the problem. With Physiotherapists extensive knowledge in the human body they put their musculoskeletal detective hat on and find the source of the problem to address the condition in its entirety. This prevents reoccurring injuries in the future. It’s not just a band-aid approach it is but thorough and comprehensive.
Another interesting take home fact is that if a muscle is too short or too long it cannot work properly. As this affect s the “length& tension” relationship of the muscle fibers. Therefore, if you do a stretch for a certain muscle if you have a trigger point in the muscle it will keep shortening to the original state until this trigger point is released.
Also, if a joint is not moving properly (too much or too little) at the articular level the muscles surrounding that joint will spasm/ involuntarily contract as a protective reaction. For example, vertebrae should move in a domino effect, one cannot be “stuck” to the other without compensation happening, and then likely pain.
To restore your overall function, Physiotherapists perform manual therapy ( or hands on Physiotherapy) using techniques like joint mobilizations, soft tissue or trigger point release, joint and muscle stretching or range of motion.
A very important part of Physiotherapy is education. Important things we touch on is posture, ideal gait pattern, hurt vs harm, body mechanics ( proper lifting form), and so on.
Another key to recovery and very important to Physiotherapists is exercise prescription.
The goals of a Physiotherapists include:
Increase movement, strength, balance, and quality of life.
To do so we need our patients to perform the necessary exercises given to help achieve these goals.
The hands on Physiotherapy (manual therapy) will get you feeling symptom relief. It’s the exercise prescription and education that will help keep this discomfort from returning.
Physiotherapy treatment example for low back pain:
- Manual therapy
- Education: Ideal posture, lifting mechanics, hurt vs harm, ideal sleeping positions, things to avoid, return to play or work recommendations ( often same is gradual).
- Exercises: postural exercises ensuring the spine is in neutral (not being compressed during different positions/ postures or activities). Stretches to improve posture, joint mobility and / or muscle restriction. Lastly, but most importantly strengthening exercises. In this case core exercises are pertinent to long term spinal health and the prevention of reinjury.
In summary we want to strengthen a muscle / joint in it’s ideal or typical position. Physiotherapy focuses on long-term support and restoration of your overall health and mobility. By seeing a Physiotherapist in Winnipeg for your back or neck injury, you can obtain the following health benefits:
Rehabilitation & Recovery: For those who have suffered an injury or illness, Physiotherapy is a excellent, personalized way to rehabilitate your body and recover faster. Physiotherapists will work with you over time to ensure you’ve recovered properly. Some injuries can take time, but if you rush to the finish line you are at risk or reinjury and your rehab journey could consequently take longer.
Injury Prevention: Physiotherapy emphasizes on strengthening the body in its’ ideal position, the outcome is that the patient becomes stronger, and less likely to injure themselves in the future. Physiotherapists will identify issues and patterns in their patients and develop a care plan to avoid long-term problems.
Reduce Surgery and Medication use: Many physicians today will refer their patients to Physiotherapists before administering conventional medical treatment. Getting the opinion of a Physiotherapist can help the entire healthcare team make better-informed decisions about the patient’s needs, possibly reducing the need for more invasive treatments like surgery or medications.