Chiropractic Care versus Physical Therapy

Patients may be wondering about the difference between chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy. After all, both professions seem to be concerned with how the body moves. While this is certainly true, the key differences between physical therapists and chiropractics lie in how they work with the body, as well as the part of the body upon which they focus. In addition, physical therapy is generally only used following an injury. Chiropractic can be seen as preventive medicine, in that regular use of chiropractic care may prevent the injury from happening in the first place.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is used to increase, maintain, or restore muscle mobility. Physical therapists may move joints in order to increase mobility of the muscles and tendons surrounding them, but they do not actually manipulate any joints. Treatment is generally focused strictly on mobility. Physical therapists do not prescribe treatment, including medications.

Physical therapy education is intervention-based. In other words, physical therapists do not learn to diagnose the cause for decreased mobility, but instead focus on learning to treat the symptoms.

Most physical therapy treatment is covered under medical insurance, if the patient is referred for treatment by their doctor. However, treatment is usually only covered for a limited period of time, which is not determined by the physical therapist but by the insurance company.


While chiropractors can work to increase, maintain, or restore muscle mobility, that is not their primary goal. Chiropractors are chiefly concerned with the entire musculoskeletal system, focusing primarily on the spine. They will manipulate joints as needed to help restore full functionality to the body, beyond just mobility. Chiropractors can prescribe other treatments, which may include massage therapy, electrotherapy, and medications, among others. They are also allowed to diagnose conditions, in addition to treating them.

Chiropractors are considered doctors, even though they do not have an MD degree. This generally means that they have undergone anywhere from six to eight years of training before obtaining that degree. They learn to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions that may affect movement or positioning of the body.

While some insurance companies will cover for the cost of chiropractic care, not all will do so. Furthermore, if chiropractic adjustments are covered, it is usually only for a limited period of time. This may be an issue because chiropractic care is really a preventive treatment designed to stop musculoskeletal problems from happening in the first place.

Dr. Nathen Horst believes that, just as with exercise and a healthy diet, chiropractic care can also be a lifelong commitment to maintaining a healthy body. This is his strongest argument for chiropractic over physical therapy to keep the entire body in proper balance and alignment. To find out how regular chiropractic adjustments can benefit you, contact Horst Chiropractic today. Dr. Horst and his staff will be happy to diagnose any issues, explain the many preventative advantages of treatment, and provide you with your ideal chiropractic alignment schedule. Dr. Horst has experience working with athletes, children, teens, and adults.

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