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Choosing A Physical Therapist or A Chiropractor For Chronic Back Pain?
Nov 4, 2019

Choosing A Physical Therapist or A Chiropractor For Chronic Back Pain? | AICA AtlantaYou have tried it all, but nothing seems to alleviate the tension you feel from sitting at your 9-5 job all day. You may also be trying to cope with pain in your lower back from lifting heavy materials or trying to recover from a slip and fall.

Determining What’s Best

Pain in the neck or back is no joke and can leave people feeling defeated but when struggling with this kind of pain some may not know who to see to get the best results which can make the pain last longer than it should. Treating back and neck injuries are sometimes best treated without medications as pain medications can mask the pain for a while but do not treat the root of the problem. Seeking care from a physical therapist or a chiropractor may be your best option, but who should you see first? Who is more effective?

Prior to scheduling your appointment, here are some similarities and differences between physical therapists and chiropractors that you should consider.

What do they do?

A physical therapist is someone who focuses on treating injuries sustained to the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. These injuries sustained will have an impact on mobility and function and a PT will focus on rebuilding strength and endurance after an injury.

Chiropractors also focus on treating the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. People who receive chiropractic care typically suffer from joint or muscle pain, such as back or neck pain, arm or leg joint pain, and headaches.

What Are The Treatments Like?

A physical therapist will design their treatment plans to ensure that the patients will have long term function. When working with a physical therapist you will learn what the root of your pain is caused by, how to treat it, what to do and what not to do and well as corrective and therapeutic exercises to help improve your mobility and function.

A chiropractor will use a holistic approach and focus their attention on your spine and correcting any misalignments that they may find. This alignment will help to relieve tension and decrease pain. Most chiropractors will suggest multiple visits that last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes each visit.

How Treatments Will Affect You

Chiropractors, as well as physical therapists, are designed to help you recover from an injury and both will work to discover the root of your injury and manage your symptoms as opposed to medications that just mask your symptoms. Both of these practices can potentially help you avoid surgery altogether.

A physical therapist is more likely to educate patients on how to help themselves at home to ensure their pain does not reoccur once physical therapy is complete.

A chiropractor will solve your pain immediately through manipulations of the spine to restore function and stability. With this style of treatment, sleep habits and posture are also added improvements as well as a decrease in pain and discomfort from your injury.


Physical therapists receive their Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) following completion of a doctoral program from an accredited PT school. They then must pass the national licensure exam to practice. A PT graduate program takes around three years to complete and comprises of about 80 percent classroom and lab study, and 20 percent clinical rotations. PTs then require annual continuing medical education to maintain their license.

Chiropractors receive their Doctorate of Chiropractic (DC) after completing a doctoral program through an accredited chiropractic school, passing a national board exam, and getting a license in the state in which they plan to practice. The graduate program curriculum blends time in the classroom and lab with clinical internships. Chiropractors must meet yearly continuing education requirements to maintain their license.

Whether it be back pain or neck pain, a physical therapist or chiropractor can certainly find you relief. Depending on what kind of care you are looking for both physical therapists and chiropractors can provide extensive treatment options to suit your needs and help t manage your pain levels.

Contact Us Today

Our Atlanta chiropractors are highly skilled and qualified, who strive to find relief for their Atlanta patients and provide friendly and efficient care. If you are looking for a new way to manage your pain without the use of medications, contact our team of doctors today at (404) 889-8828.