Chiropractors and physical therapists (or physiotherapists) are professionals who help in the treatment of different injuries or trauma to the body.
A chiropractor is a professional who is engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, whereas a physical therapist (also called physiotherapist) is a medical professional who provides treatment in case of injury, disease or caused due to aging, to assist and restore mobility and function.
edit Differences in Medical Education and Training
The academic degree for chiropractors is called Doctor of Chiropractic or (DC). The World Health Organization (WHO) also lists other potential paths for pursuing this fulltime: B.Sc (Chiro) a 5 year integrated bachelor program and a 2-3 Masters program (M.Sc. Chiro) following a bachelor’s degree. Candidates can apply to a DC program after completing a four-year undergraduate degree. DC Program is a four-year full time program. Post-graduate residency is available in specialized spheres of chiropractor like orthopaedics, radiology and neurology. In the United States, training in physical therapy leads to the DPT (doctor of physical therapy) degree, which is a four-year program. Other programs also offer a Masters (MSPT, MPT). Education in this field includes clinical internships. Candidates also have to clear the National Physical Therapy Examination before they can practise. Physical therapy has many specialities in common areas such as Cardiopulmonary, Pediatrics, Neurologic, Orthopaedic, Geriatric, Integumentary, and Sports Physical Therapy and Clinical Electrophysiology. Other countries have different requirements for this profession.
edit Differences in Treatment techniques and Specialization
There are at least 20 types of techniques used by chiropractors. These include Manipulation of the spine and other joints, Extremity adjusting and Activator techniques like, Cox-Flexion Distraction (which targets compressed spine and relieves back pain), Thompson technique (method of adjustment in which the length of legs in analyzed to determine the type of misalignment and uses a “drop table”), Gonstead (looks at misalignment of spine causing pinched nerve), Sacro-Occipital technique (addresses the dysfunction of the base of the spine), which aims to correct vertebral and pelvic misalignments. Other modes for relieving pain are exercises, nutritional and dietary recommendations, cryotherapy (with ice packs) stress-relieving and relaxation techniques and disease prevention advice.
Physical therapists help people who have been in accidents, patients with low back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, injuries and those with physical disabilities. Physical therapy is often clubbed with other medical practises in order to restore mobility and rehabilitation of the patient. Techniques include massage and stretching, hydrotherapy or aquatic therapy (in water), joint mobilization (passive procedure which loosens up restricted joints), muscle energy techniques (active procedure involving voluntary contraction of patient’s muscles, against a controlled counterforce), aggressive high velocity low amplitude thrusting, back strengthening exercises and a combination of these techniques.
edit Board certification for chiropractors vs physical therapists
Chiropractic schools are accredited through the Council for Chiropractic Education (CCE). This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties lists seven certifications different areas of physical therapy.