Decoding Healthcare Professions: Physical Therapist vs. Chiropractor – Choosing the Right Path to Wellness

Decoding Healthcare Professions: Physical Therapist vs. Chiropractor - Choosing the Right Path to Wellness
Dr. Garrett Stroup. Physical Therapist in Roseburg Area.


Dr. Garrett C. Stroup

DPT, VRC - Owner and Founder

We help athletes and active adults regain control of their injury without expensive surgeries or medications, so they can keep going.


In the diverse landscape of healthcare, understanding the differences between various professionals can be pivotal in making informed decisions about your well-being. Two specialists often sought after for musculoskeletal concerns are physical therapists and chiropractors. While both play vital roles in promoting health, they have distinct approaches and methodologies. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the disparities between physical therapists and chiropractors, empowering you to choose the right path to your wellness journey.

The Role of a Physical Therapist

Defining Physical Therapy

Physical therapists are highly trained healthcare professionals specializing in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions. They focus on improving mobility, relieving pain, and enhancing overall physical function through evidence-based techniques. Physical therapists create tailored exercise programs, employ manual therapies, and educate patients about injury prevention and body mechanics.

When to Consult Elite Sports Physical Therapists

Key Aspects of Physical Therapy

  • Holistic Approach: Physical therapy takes a holistic approach, considering the entire body’s functionality and addressing underlying causes of pain or dysfunction.
  • Patient Education: Physical therapists empower patients with knowledge about their condition, providing tools and exercises for self-management and long-term wellness.
  • Rehabilitation and Recovery: Physical therapists assist patients in recovering from injuries, surgeries, or chronic conditions, emphasizing functional independence and pain reduction.

The Role of a Chiropractor

Defining Chiropractic Care

Chiropractors are healthcare professionals who primarily focus on the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine. Chiropractic care often involves spinal adjustments and manipulations to alleviate pain, improve joint mobility, and promote overall health. Chiropractors believe in the body’s ability to heal itself and emphasize the relationship between spinal health and overall well-being.


Key Aspects of Chiropractic Care

  • Spinal Manipulation: Chiropractors perform spinal adjustments, using controlled force to restore joint mobility and alleviate pain, particularly in the spine.
  • Focus on Nervous System: Chiropractic care often emphasizes the relationship between spinal health and the nervous system, believing that spinal misalignments can affect overall health and vitality.
  • Preventive Care: Chiropractors may also provide lifestyle and nutritional advice, focusing on preventive care and promoting a healthy lifestyle to maintain spinal health.

Differences in Education and Training

Education and Training of Physical Therapists

Physical therapists typically earn doctoral degrees in physical therapy (DPT) after completing a rigorous academic program. Their education includes in-depth studies in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and evidence-based treatment techniques. Physical therapists are extensively trained in diagnosing and managing various musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions.

Education and Training of Chiropractors

Chiropractors earn doctoral degrees in chiropractic care (DC) after completing specialized education in chiropractic colleges. Their training focuses on spinal adjustments, chiropractic philosophy, and the relationship between the spine and the nervous system. Chiropractors are skilled in performing manual spinal manipulations to address pain and dysfunction.

Making Informed Choices

Choosing Between a Physical Therapist and a Chiropractor

  • Physical Therapist: Seek a physical therapist if you are looking for a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to musculoskeletal issues. Physical therapists provide a wide range of treatments, including therapeutic exercises, manual therapies, and patient education, emphasizing functional improvement and long-term well-being.
  • Chiropractor: Consider a chiropractor if you are specifically interested in spinal adjustments and believe in the body’s innate ability to heal. Chiropractic care is centered around spinal health, and chiropractors often provide specialized adjustments to address spinal misalignments and related issues.

Collaborative Care

It’s important to note that physical therapists and chiropractors can work collaboratively, each contributing their expertise to enhance patient outcomes. In some cases, individuals may choose to receive care from both professionals, benefiting from the combined knowledge and skills of physical therapy and chiropractic care.


In the realm of musculoskeletal healthcare, both physical therapists and chiropractors play valuable roles, offering distinct yet complementary approaches to wellness. Whether you prefer the comprehensive, evidence-based care provided by physical therapists or the focused spinal adjustments offered by chiropractors, understanding the differences between these professionals empowers you to make informed decisions about your health.

At OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance, we believe in a patient-centered approach, tailoring our treatments to your specific needs and goals. Our team of skilled physical therapists is dedicated to providing exceptional care, guiding you on your journey to recovery and overall well-being.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation and discover the personalized care that sets us apart in the pursuit of your health and wellness goals.

OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance

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