Back Pain Relief - Chiropractor or Physical Therapist?

If you have ever experienced or are currently experiencing back pain, you know just how frustrating it can be as it can affect many parts of your life. Suddenly, bending down to lift things becomes a struggle and it is sometimes hard to get to sleep which is one of the easiest things to do normally. When you are experiencing back pain, the only thing on your mind is removing the pain so you can continue your life once more; however, there are some important differences between physical therapists and chiropractors including the way they were trained.

Back problems are often a tricky subject as it can be hard to find the source of the pain; for this reason, doctors will normally refer you to a specialist who is used to diagnosing problems in this area. Whether it is caused by an injury or a medical condition, this specialist will normally diagnose the problem and then recommend either a physical therapist or a chiropractor. But why is it one of these two? How do they differ?

chiropractor for back pain relief

Physical Therapist

A physical therapist's role is normally to help a patient recover after a bad injury or sometimes even surgery. A therapist will work with the patient in order to build up strength, stamina, and balance in the affected area. Of course, back pain can be incredibly restrictive and often leads to a lack of movement that could lead to an amount of time off of work. A physical therapist will look at the individual case and draw up a plan of exercises to alleviate the pain and find ways for the patient to move freely once more. For example, climbing stairs may be a big problem so an exercise will be completed with supervision from the therapist that will build up the relevant muscles so in time the patient will be able to climb stairs fully.

Physical therapists are often used by athletes and sportsmen/women as they recover from an injury. The therapist will supervise exercises in order for them to effectively rebuild the troubled area.


A chiropractor works different and takes a more hands-on approach by treating the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Concord chiropractors are also trained with the long-term in mind; instead of helping a patient to get over this injury, they will also look to prevent the injury happening in the future. Many different techniques are used to re-align the spine in an attempt to improve stability and mobility. Chiropractors use force and apply pressure in order to adjust the spine back to the correct position which will also prevent problems occurring in the years to come. If the back pain is chronic or acute, a chiropractor will use techniques on the soft tissue as well as the joints to improve mobility.

In summary, the differences between the two are clear to see but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are mutually exclusive. After surgery, many patients will be recommended to attend both physical therapy and chiropractic sessions in order to improve the affected area. Although their general philosophy may differ, their practices overlap somewhat meaning that they will work together well. Both also offer some high-tech treatments such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and low-level laser treatment (LLLT).

The most important thing to remember is that the choice is yours, you may receive advice from your doctor and you may receive advice from your friends and family but the options are clear. Whether you choose a chiropractor or a physical therapist or maybe even both, they have great track records and will be sure to put you back on the right track.