Physiotherapy and Chiropractic: The Best Fit

Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience back pain in their lifetime, so it’s no surprise that there is a heated debate over the best form of treatment. While many assume that physiotherapists and chiropractors are in a heated rivalry over your back ailments – that’s just not true. While both physical therapy options have shown to help, there are a variety of factors that come into play when choosing between physiotherapy and chiropractic.

woman dealing with back pain

Back pain is the 2nd leading cause of doctor visits.

Differences Between Physiotherapy and Chiropractic


Physiotherapy focuses on the movements of the joints and is a much broader term than chiropractic. While chiropractic focuses mostly on the back, physiotherapy uses a variety of techniques to help joints and muscles all over the body. Physiotherapists also should be qualified to perform acupuncture, IMS needling, and other core stability exercises.

One major benefit of physiotherapy is the fact that it covers more areas of the body. Certain injuries can lead to overcompensation, and that can lead to even more injuries. For example, someone who injures their left ankle might begin to favor their right side, causing pain in the hip joint. In many cases, physiotherapists will also have a better set of skills because they are trained in more areas of expertise.

The problem, however, with physiotherapists is that since the term is so broad, some physiotherapists are more qualified than others. In this case, make sure that if you enter the physiotherapy field, you become the most knowledgeable practitioner you can be.


Unlike physiotherapists, chiropractors focus on manipulation of the back area. Since they are focused on a specific region, chiropractors are better equipped to handle back-specific injuries. If your injury is focused primarily in the back area, chiropractors can handle your ailment.

Another benefit is that chiropractic is often more affordable than physiotherapy. While chiropractors are available in most cities, it can be tough to find physiotherapists nearby. Chiropractic also usually provides more immediate relief than physiotherapists. In addition to relieving neck, back, and headache pain, chiropractic treatment has also been linked to the relief of various other illnesses and symptoms that aren’t closely related to back injuries. These maladies include indigestion, pregnancy issues, fainting, dizziness, asthma, and pneumonia.

There have also been many reports of injuries from chiropractic, so it’s important to find a well-respected and safe practitioner. It is also important to note that chiropractors typically have a greater injury percentage than physiotherapy practitioners.

Which Should You Choose?


Physiotherapy is the best option when your injury has lasting effects. Certain back and hip injuries can take months to recover from, so physiotherapy can take care of not just back injuries, but other joint and muscle injuries as well. Therapists who practice physiotherapy have been trained to recognize a variety of conditions and injuries, and this knowledge helps them treat injuries or weaknesses that you might not have known existed. Because chiropractors usually focus on spinal issues, they do not tend to look at the whole picture to find out if anything else is wrong.

Physiotherapy should also be chosen if you are experiencing a variety of ailments. While chiropractors focus only on the back, many physiotherapists will be able to treat a variety of injuries.


Chiropractic is the cheaper, more available option to treat back injuries. While it’s great to have a lot of available practitioners, it’s also a good idea to review and find the best possible chiropractor. While injuries from chiropractors are a serious issue, a well-trained chiropractor can alleviate the back pain.

This treatment is also more focused than physiotherapy and is the best option for someone dealing with back-specific pain. It also provides immediate relief so a pulled muscle or injured joint can quickly be alleviated.

Author: Troy Diffenderfer

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