I hope that this year has been treating you well so far and that you are back in full swing at work and hopefully pain-free
However, if you are experiencing pain from an injury, repetitive movements, or other everyday activities, you might be wondering whether you should see a chiropractor or a physiotherapist (or both). We get asked this question quite a lot in practice and decided to quickly explain the difference and when to see each one.
There are two major differences between chiropractors and physiotherapists. The first being the training and education and the second being manipulation and mobilization of the joints and soft tissue.
Chiropractors can either study at the University of Johannesburg or Durban University of Technology. The course is 6 to 7 years long (depending on how long your thesis takes to complete). During this time we do a basic Bsc degree and then start to specialize in chiropractic adjusting techniques as well as diagnostics. This allows us to call ourselves Drs of chiropractics.
We also get taught soft tissue techniques which include sports massage, dry needling and different types of electrotherapy. To qualify as a chiropractor you also need to complete an extensive internship and see a certain number of patients in the Chiropractic Clinic. This is similar to the medical doctors community service years.
Physiotherapists study a minimum of 4 years at most universities in the country and during their fourth year they are also required to submit a thesis to obtain an Honors degree. During their studies they gain enough experience to work in hospitals to treat post-operative patients as well as treating sports injuries and doing some rehabilitation.
However, when it comes to deciding which discipline to see for your pains, the next section will help.
A big difference between the two disciplines is that a chiropractor uses manipulation, while a physiotherapist will use what is known as mobilization techniques. The two can be compared as follows:
Chiropractors adjust the joints (where two bones meet) of your spine and limbs where signs of restricted movement are found. Gentle, specific manipulation techniques (high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust) help to restore normal body movement. In addition to gently manipulating your joints and using soft tissue techniques for muscles (massage, dry needling, cupping etc.), your chiropractor will also give you home stretches and exercises as well as teach you about ergonomics in the workplace.
Physiotherapists tend to utilize mobilisation which involves moving the joint through its range of motion to relieve pain and muscle spasms, release tension and improve flexibility in a joint. Physiotherapists aim to improve muscle weaknesses or imbalances which can be due to injuries, surgery or repetitive strain. They handle more post-surgical or post-stroke rehabilitations than chiropractors normally do. Overall, with physiotherapy there is a larger emphasis on using specific, targeted exercises for rehabilitating muscles and restoring movement. Physiotherapy can also treat some respiratory conditions to give relief to babies and adults suffering with phlem and difficulty breathing.
Both professions aim to provide you with comfort, relief and well-being.
Contact us today if you would like to book an appointment with your chiropractor. Or head over to our online booking page and make a booking right away.0