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Chiro or Physio: How to Determine Which Is Best for You

The Benefits of Chiropractic Medicine Vs Physiotherapy Chiropractic medicine and physiotherapy have been around for centuries and have developed a solid reputation in the medical […]

sketch of a spine and other bones in paper

The Benefits of Chiropractic Medicine Vs Physiotherapy

Chiropractic medicine and physiotherapy have been around for centuries and have developed a solid reputation in the medical community due to the many benefits they offer to patients struggling with different physical ailments.

From curing back and neck pain to realigning posture, these therapies are unique and offer different solutions for different concerns. But two big questions people often have are: What is the difference, and which one is best?

The bottom line is, if you’ve hurt your back or your limbs aren’t lining up quite right, you are going to need some semblance of relief.

So, to help you get an idea of which treatment is right for you, here are some of the benefits of both along with some key differences.

What is Chiropractic Medicine?

Chiropractic care is a form of therapy that treats the musculoskeletal system – this includes bones, cartilage, joints, muscles and tendons.

Chiropractors help patients find relief from a variety of ailments through targeted adjustments and realignments to your spine and joints. They can also perform deep tissue work in order to target muscles and tendons.

In the event that an injury, illness or deformity affects the musculoskeletal system, a chiropractor can also manipulate your body to help relieve pain and improve mobility.

Here are some examples of common issues that can be managed and treated through chiropractic care:

  • Sciatica
  • Neck, back, and lower back pain
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Concussions
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic headaches


While the idea of having your spine adjusted by a chiropractor can be a bit scary to some, it’s important to consider all the amazing benefits you will experience. Here are some of the main advantages of chiropractic medicine:

It Offers Personalized Treatment

With chiropractic care, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each treatment is tailored to individual patients based on their own needs and spinal condition.

Chiropractors assess each patient and their condition to determine the best course of action for adjusting their bodies and providing relief. Patients may even experience different treatments for each visit.

It Involves No Drugs or Surgery

Chiropractic medicine is considered a natural ‘alternative’ method of healing, as there are no drugs or surgery involved.

In many cases, when dealing with chronic pain and other musculoskeletal conditions, spinal adjustments and other forms of chiropractic therapy can help patients avoid surgery and eliminate or reduce the need for painkilling medication.

It Provides Immediate Relief

Spinal adjustments can help alleviate pressure from nerves and muscles, and many patients who see chiropractors to help alleviate chronic pain report feeling immediate or near-immediate relief.

Seeing a chiropractor can also have an immediate impact on mobility, coordination and function.

But that’s not all. Here are some additional benefits of chiropractic adjustments:

  • Improved joint mobility
  • Decrease in degeneration of the joint and connective tissues
  • Improved organ function
  • Relief from chronic headaches and migraines
  • Prevention of joint dysfunction
  • Quicker recovery after car accidents
  • Improved posture
  • Boosted immune system
  • Lower blood pressure

Who It’s Ideal For

If your back or joints feel locked, stiff, and sore, or you are experiencing chronic pain and aren’t responding well to other treatments, a chiropractor may be able to help.

Also consider contacting a chiropractor if you experience any of the following symptoms for more than a week:

  • Constant or frequent pain, especially when you are lying down
  • Pain that radiates down one or both of your legs
  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness in the legs
  • Redness or swelling where your pain is coming from

Chiropractic care can also be incredibly beneficial – and safe – for pregnant women.

Chiropractors are trained to work with pregnant women and can help to reduce some uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms and better align the pelvis.

When the pelvis is better aligned and balanced, it gives the baby more room to develop, resulting in less stress on a woman’s body. It will also help the baby to get into the correct position for delivery.

Without proper alignment, there is a higher risk that you will not be able to deliver naturally without the need for a C-section.

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, refers to any variation of therapy that encourages rehabilitation, improved strength, and mobility.

Using various treatments and techniques, physiotherapists work to gradually restore health and mobility to patients who have experienced an illness that has affected their mobility, balance or strength.

Physiotherapists will develop a treatment plan tailored to each individual patient, using treatments and techniques such as:

  • Joint manipulation
  • Muscle stretching
  • Exercises
  • Soft tissue mobilization
  • Electrotherapy
  • Cryotherapy and heat therapy
  • Ultrasound
  • Cold Laser Therapy
  • Percussive Therapy
  • Kinesio taping

Physiotherapists also often work with other medical professionals to help diagnose conditions and come up with a treatment plan for a patient’s physical rehabilitation.

Here are some examples of conditions that can be treated and managed through physiotherapy:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Post-concussive syndrome
  • Neurological disorders
  • Post-operative recovery
  • Sports injuries
  • Pediatric conditions
  • Tendonitis
  • TMJ syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Back pain
  • Foot and heel pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Arthritis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Dizziness, vertigo, imbalance
  • Chronic pain
  • Carpal Tunnel syndrome
  • Whiplash


Compared to chiropractic therapy, physiotherapy has many similar benefits, but has a slightly wider range of advantages and can help treat more conditions. Here are some of the top benefits of seeing a physiotherapist:

Reduced or Eliminated Pain

Physiotherapists use therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques to help relieve pain and restore muscle and joint function.

This includes joint and soft tissue mobilization, ultrasound, taping and electrical stimulation.
Such therapies and techniques are also known to help keep pain at bay long-term.

Improved Mobility

Physiotherapy can greatly help patients who are having trouble standing, walking or moving – regardless of age – as stretching and strengthening exercises led by a physiotherapist can restore your mobility.

Physical therapists can also fit patients with a cane, crutches or other assistive devices, and determine their suitability for an orthotic prescription.

Recover from Injuries

Physiotherapy is often a crucial component of recovery for many different types of sports injuries.

Using a personalized and comprehensive treatment plan, seeing a physiotherapist can greatly benefit athletes and help them to recover from ligament sprains, muscle sprains, and even fractures and dislocations, and allow them to avoid surgery, which brings us to our next point.

Avoid Surgery

By helping to eliminate pain and heal from an injury, physiotherapy can eliminate the need for surgery in many cases.

Physiotherapy can also help a patient:

  • Recover from a stroke
  • Manage diabetes
  • Manage heart and lung disease
  • Improve mobility
  • Better recover from surgery

Who It’s Ideal For

Physiotherapy is ideal for patients who have experienced muscle strains, need to improve mobility, or recover from surgery or a traumatic injury.

It’s also important to note that people of all ages are eligible for physiotherapy.

What Are the Similarities Between Physio and Chiro?

Chiropractic care and physiotherapy are similar in the sense that they both treat joint and musculoskeletal conditions and help to improve mobility and strength. Both treatments also help patients recover from surgery, help with chronic pain, and can eliminate the need for surgery in many cases.

Key Differences

Chiropractic medicine focusses mainly on spinal adjustment, while physiotherapy involves a more comprehensive treatment plan. A physiotherapy plan involves mobilization techniques such as exercise and stretching, along with electrical stimulation and other therapies.

Another key difference is that physiotherapy can also be used to help treat soft tissue injuries.

Another key difference to note is physiotherapists will typically not perform spinal or disc adjustments.

If you are dealing with chronic pain, are recovering from a traumatic injury, or are looking to improve your mobility, the first step towards finding relief is to get examined professionally and ask a medical professional which treatment is best suited for your condition.

Whether that’s chiropractic care or physiotherapy, you won’t truly know until you consult with a licensed chiropractor or physiotherapist, who will help you determine your best course of treatment.

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