Following a car accident, slip and fall or some other type of personal injury incident, people often seek the help of either a chiropractor or physical therapist. Of course, this makes perfect sense. Before exploring legal rights, one’s health and well-being come first. However, the question often gets asked, “should I see a chiropractor or a physical therapist if I’ve been injured?” The answer is that it depends on the circumstances. While both are health care professionals specializing in alternative medicine, their approach towards treatment can differ.


Chiropractic science focuses primarily upon the interplay between the neurological and skeletal systems. The principal theory underlying chiropractic treatment is that “spinal adjustments” promote the free flow of nerve energy which helps to alleviate or cure many ailments.

The goal of every chiropractic treatment is to decrease pain through a series of visits in which a “spinal adjustment” is performed on the patient. In order to see full benefits, patients generally require several chiropractic adjustments before they experience results, this can require a treatment regimen that runs the course of several weeks to even a year in chronic pain cases. Generally, each treatment or spinal adjustment lasts between 10 and 30 minutes.

Physical Therapists

The goal of physical therapy is to focus on decreasing pain and improving mobility by emphasizing strength conditioning. Physical therapists target musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems in order to improve patient posture, joint flexibility and eliminate movement dysfunction.

While chiropractic medicine has the spine as its focal point, physical therapy encompasses a much broader range of body parts by addressing soft tissue neurological and joint structures. Like chiropractic medicine, physical therapy focuses upon pain reduction through a progressive and sustained treatment regimen.

They Can Both Help

Both Chiropractors and Physical Therapists are licensed health care professionals that must go through extensive certification before they can treat patients. Unlike Physicians, their focus is upon alternative medicine that avoids prescribing medications for pain alleviation. Of course, if pain medication is necessary, they can both refer patients to qualified physicians that specialize in pain management.

Often, the best starting point is a chiropractor since most trauma occurs in the spine following an accident. After the chiropractor is able to make initial assessments about the degree of spinal trauma, he or she can then refer the patient to another professional that might be able to provide more specific treatment remedies.Don’t get mad, get legal!