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Chiropractor VS Physiotherapist: What is the Difference?

Movement - Chiropractic vs PhysiotherapyUnderstanding the difference between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist will give you a clear path forward when you are seeking treatment. When you experience pain from an injury, hurt tissue, or joint, you may compare physiotherapy to chiropractic care as you consider your course of treatment. Although both forms of treatment share the same end goals of decreased pain, increased mobility, and improved functional capacity, there are some distinct differences in how these may be achieved. Gaining a better understanding of each line of care will help equip you as you and your practitioners plan your path to recovery.

Physiotherapy care

A physiotherapist’s primary focus is on improving a person’s ability to move and participate in activities of various levels of intensity, without pain or restrictions. They will begin with a patient diagnosis and then cater all supporting treatments, education, and exercise plans accordingly by employing a wide range of techniques from manual therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, joint mobilization, and specialized skills such as dry needling and pelvic floor work to treat muscles, bones, joints, and the nervous system. The end goal for physiotherapy treatment is to improve their patient’s quality of life by regaining their ability to function, free of pain and discomfort.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic care focuses on relieving patients’ ailments through manipulation and adjustments to the spine and joints. Manipulations are performed at the joints of the spine and limbs where signs of restricted movement or neurologic impairments are identified. The spine and nervous system are closely joined so spinal manipulations also help to promote healing and relief to the nervous system and body. Our chiropractors like Dr. Dan and Dr. Russell also use manipulations to release tension, stiffness, and pain which helps to restore proper function of the body.

When to see a chiropractor and when to see a physiotherapist

Engaging both a physiotherapist and chiropractor can be extremely effective and beneficial throughout your treatment journey and on your path to healing and recovery. While each practitioner treats musculoskeletal conditions including relief for pain and stiffness, a physiotherapist’s expertise lies in treating the muscles, tissues and joints while a chiropractor’s expertise relates to the spine and joints. A common example showing the complementary nature of physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment might be to decrease stiffness and improve neurological function through chiropractic care, while the physiotherapy treatment works in tandem to reduce pain and improve both strength and range of motion. By employing a more holistic approach to your care, you can experience more enhanced outcomes by choosing both courses of treatment.

Physiotherapists and chiropractors may treat conditions differently, but they are very complimentary in achieving improvements in function and quality of life. Ultimately, the key factor in your decision to see a physiotherapist, chiropractor, or both, should relate back to the diagnosis or source of the problem. Ensuring you get an accurate diagnosis from a practitioner you trust is therefore a critical piece in determining the care plan you feel most comfortable and confident in. Book an appointment online, or call our office at (306) 244-6121.


Should I see a physiotherapist or chiropractor for SI joint pain?

It depends on the diagnosis or source of your SI joint pain. If the pain is stemming more so from muscle or tissue, a physiotherapist will treat the musculature around the hips and back, as well as the joints and vertebrae connected to the pain. If the SI joint pain is more blocked, restrictive, and bony in nature, a chiropractor will manipulate the corresponding vertebrae and joints to treat the pain. Proper diagnosis is key to reaching the best recommendation for treatment.

Is it better to see a physiotherapist or chiropractor?

Neither physiotherapy or chiropractic care is superior to the other. Both professions employ a range of techniques that they are well-versed in using to help treat patients as they support their path to recovery.

Can you see a physiotherapist and chiropractor?

Absolutely, this is often recommended as the optimal and most holistic way to approach injuries or body pain. The complementary nature of the two lines of care make them ideal in treating and managing pain alongside one another. The likelihood of a full and thorough recovery from your ailment can be improved considerably when you see both a physiotherapist and a chiropractor.


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