What's Right For You-Chiropractor Or Physical Therapist?

What’s Right For You–Chiropractor Or Physical Therapist?

reliant physical therapy

What’s Right For You–Chiropractor Or Physical Therapist?

Americans of all ages face chronic pain, and are frequently at a loss of how to manage it. There are so many different kinds of pain, and so many treatment options, that it’s hard to know what is the best route for your own treatment therapies and healing. Chiropractic and physical therapy typically result in the best outcomes, but again, how do you know which is best for you?

The first step in making the right decision is to really understand the difference in chiropractors and physical therapists. There are a number of similarities in the two, but there are also several differences.  Keep in mind that regardless of the treatment you opt for, both chiropractors and physical therapists are highly educated professionals and have the same goals–to provide relief from pain and to improve your overall mobility.


Anyone can make an appointment to see a chiropractor. You do not need a referral from a doctor, although you may have an easier time with insurance if you have that referral for a specified injury or illness.

reliant chiropracticIn the main, chiropractors are clear that their treatments are not a replacement for traditional medical care. For the most part, they work in conjunction with other medical professionals–orthopedists, osteopaths, and physical therapists–as a complementary therapy for the main course of treatment.

The primary indicator that a chiropractor is the best choice is if your pain is concentrated along your spine. This would include any nerve or muscle pain along the spinal column. Chiropractors focus on the musculoskeletal system–the framework of muscles, bones, joints, cartilage, and tendons that take care of your internal organs and allow you to move.

Stresses to the musculoskeletal system–from illness, injury, or physical deformity–cause spinal subluxations. Subluxation is a word that you’ll hear a lot if you go the chiropractic route. What it means medically is “a partial abnormal separation of the articular surfaces of a joint”.  In other words, the joint doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Symptoms of subluxation are pain, tingling, numbness, or burning in the affected area.

There are several treatment options for spinal subluxation. Your chiropractor will assess the damage to your spinal area using X-rays or another imaging form, and come up with a plan based on those imaging results. They will make precisely targeted adjustments to your body with the goal of adjusting and realigning your spine and joints. Manual muscle manipulation is the primary technique to bring about pain relief, and sometimes the treatments will resemble a deep-tissue massage to targeted muscles and tendons.

A course of treatment with a chiropractor can range from one or two sessions in a week, to several treatments a week for many months. One of the downsides to chiropractic therapy is that it is rarely a permanent solution.

Physical Therapy

First, physical therapy and physiotherapy are the same thing. Before you begin a course of PT, you will need to see a doctor, generally an orthopedic surgeon, to determine the source of your pain and write a referral for PT. The referral will define the problem and how many times per week you should go for treatment–it’s basically a prescription for physical activity rather than a pill in a bottle.

Physical Therapy Is Broad In Scope

Physical therapy provides pain relief but also restores function and in some cases, can prevent disability. If you’ve ever had joint surgery, or even a bad sprain, you’re familiar with all the benefits of physical therapy. But it’s equally effective for more chronic or congenital pain or stiffness. The goal of PT is to help you reach and maintain the highest level of movement and function you need for everyday activities.

Your first PT appointment is usually an evaluation. The therapist assesses your pain levels, and range of motion, and designs a unique plan to get you back on your feet. The plan will incorporate exercises for flexibility, balance, and some instruction on posture and carriage–a lot of pain can be alleviated by simply standing up straight and moving properly. You may also have hot or cold treatments, or both, and an overall plan to get you well and keep you in good health.

Unlike chiropractic therapy, when you may feel a difference after one or two treatments, PT results take longer to feel. The upside of that is the long-term benefit of PT can be life long,

Physical therapy is the treatment of choice for lots of movement issues. While chiropractic therapy is focused on the spine, PT treats the entire body. These are some of the illnesses or injuries that result in limited movement and would typically require PT.reliant physical therapy

  • Injuries that stem from an accident, surgery, or a health condition
  • Pain related to movement
  • Desire to maintain and improve ease of movement

Many patients also seek PT as a route to get stronger overall. These would be people who have been diagnosed with these illnesses, although this list is certainly limited. Anyone who’s been diagnosed with any form of arthritis is a candidate for physical therapy–osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, in particular. Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke and COPD patients are also sent to a PT for a course of therapy to get stronger after diagnosis or hospitalization.

PT Is On the Move

Physical therapy is not limited to offices or outpatient clinics. Whereas chiropractic treatment is limited to the practitioner’s clinic, PT is a much more portable option. You may start your PT in the hospital after a surgery or illness, and continue it in a rehabilitation facility. You can also do lots of your prescribed stretches and exercises at home–those colorful stretchy bands let you maintain your schedule without having to go to the PT several times a week.

Sometimes you’re in pain without any defining event to cause it. If that’s you, now is the time to start a course of physical therapy or chiropractic. We can help you determine the best course of action for your individual needs, so don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation and evaluation.

Latest News

Medical Director

As Medical Director of of Reliant Immediate Care Medical Group, Dr. Max Lebow leads a team of highly trained and committed doctors, nurses, psychologists, physical therapists, exercise physiologists, and medical assistants, all dedicated to bringing the highest level of medical care to the patients and families who use the many services at our facility.  “Our staff is here to go the extra mile for you,” says Lebow.  “We seek to provide care in a family oriented environment; our family is yours.”

Dr. Lebow graduated from West Virginia University School of Medicine, and completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at Charity Hospital of New Orleans.  He received his Masters of Public Health from Medical College of Wisconsin, and his Masters of Business Administration from Taft University.  He is Board Certified by the American College of Emergency Medicine and American College of Preventive Medicine (Occupational Medicine). Dr. Lebow has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Urgent Care Associate of America.

Chief Executive Officer

Gene has over 20 years of executive leadership experience guiding healthcare organizations to successfully meet the evolving financial and regulatory environment through alignment of physician and patient goals, and by using innovative IT solutions. As CEO of Reliant Medical Center, one of the busiest and largest standalone urgent care and occupational medicine centers in the country. Under Gene’s direction, Reliant grew at a rate of 20% per year to more than 7,000 visits per month.

In addition to his leadership role at Reliant, Mr. Howell has worked as a technical and work flow advisor and advisory board member for one of the country’s leading EMR companies. He began his career within advertising and marketing and has worked for Fortune 50 companies specializing in top national accounts. After 15 years, Mr. Howell transitioned into the medical field. Gene brings an exceptional working knowledge of EMR’s and how they affect all aspects of a practice.  He is known for thinking outside the box to solve the many challenges facing practices today.