Should I Have Chiropractic or Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain?
Wondering if you should have chiropractic care or physical therapy for lower back pain? Whether you are suffering from lower back pain, sciatica pain or something else, this post will address that question.
Back Pain Is A Very Common Problem
Back pain is one of the most common problems that will trouble a person. It’s also one of the top issues a chiropractor or physical therapist will face. But which one should a person see when their lower back pain is severe enough? Both address the pain that patients will see them for. But they have different methods for solving the issue. Let’s go through them.
What the Chiropractor Will Provide
It’s the chiropractor’s job to address issues arising from spinal misalignment. Spinal issues can lead to other problems in the body. These can include neck pain, assorted joint pain, and even headaches. This arises due to the sheer number of joints and bones connected to the spine itself. But the largest one is back pain. Lower back pain will be the first pain to arise when spinal issues are present.
The chiropractor will first determine precisely where the lower-back pain is coming from. This will include an X-ray examination if the pain is deep enough. The spinal pain can stem from structural issues. After the source of the pain is determined, the chiropractor will go about treating the problems. This spinal adjustment process can include going hands-on or using instrumentation for realignment.
The chiropractors will first go hands-on with their treatments. They will then prescribe plans for the patient to heal through exercises and in their own time. The process that involves strengthening and realigning the spine is deep and involved. This will result in relieved pressure from the muscles on all portions of the body. This, chiefly, includes the lower back. The chiropractor will stick with the patient until they’ve regained their strength. Following their treatments, check-ins will be made with the patient to make sure they’re healing.
The severity of the patient’s lower back pain will determine how much work the chiropractor will provide. Exercises and stretching will be one aspect after the cause is determined. Passive therapies will also be involved. These will include the electric stim, a low-level laser, and an ultrasound. This dedicated treatment will allow for the patient to regain strength in their back. They’ll then have to test to determine if the treatments are working as intended.
The patient should feel better after this process. They should move around and lay down more comfortably, with no pain interruptions. The next step will involve introducing therapeutic exercises. These will make sure the back remains in a healthy state. The chiropractor will occasionally offer dietary advice to help strengthen the patient’s back. A good diet can help keep the back in a healthy and pain-free state.
What the Physical Therapist Will Provide
The physical therapist has a similar job to the chiropractor. The goal involves making sure the patient feels better so they can have comfortability in their lives. But the physical therapist goes about this in alternate methods, though in a similarly safe manner.
Physical therapists are more concerned with the patient regaining physical movement. Their job is to make sure the patient can stand, walk, lay down, or perform other actions in a pain-free manner. The therapist will provide treatment and exercises to have the patient moving again. The types of exercises they prescribe will be specific to healing and strengthening the lower back.
The exercises the therapist assigns will mostly involve stretching. The patient will be assigned to do this a few times a week or a few times a month. The frequency will depend on how severe the lower back pain is. The physical therapist will test many of the patient’s functions. This will include their strength, range of motion, balance, flexibility, and skin tissue integrity in the back. This will take more time to heal depending on how the patient’s recovery process is progressing. In this way, the physical therapist takes on the role of a coach.
The physical therapist will also work to ensure that the patient prevents future injuries to the back. Their physical appointments can last between 30 and 60 minutes. They’ll also provide home exercise programs as part of the longer rehabilitation process. This will ensure that the patient is continuing to recover while not being monitored by them.
Physical therapists are available in a wider variety of places compared to chiropractors. These therapists are available in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and smaller clinics. Their availability will make it easier for a patient to resume their daily lives. Chiropractors tend to be exclusively available in outpatient clinic settings.
The Case for Seeing Both
Both the chiropractor and physical therapist have many similarities. It’s the intention of both to treat their patients’ lower back pain. They aim to get their patients working in a normal fashion again. Both have been trained at a doctoral level. Some physical therapists might even have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. They both must pass their state board tests to practice their methods and take on patients. The takeaway here is that both are skilled in their professions. They’ll work to ensure that a patient’s lower back pain is troubling them no more after ample treatments.
The two will use physical methods to make sure the patient is healing. Some of these can include electrical stimulation, while others will include heat methods. They’ll both favor using nonsurgical methods to make sure the patient recovers.
Their methods for treating pain somewhat overlap, regardless of how the patient’s pain first arose. Lower back pain, as established above, can be cause by spinal misalignment. This can arise through basic functions. Sitting in a chair while either working or remaining casual for too long will cause issues. The same can be said for sleeping in poor positions on multiple nights. Other back pain is more severe. This can be acquired through injury during work or through playing a sport. A car accident is another big reason for lower back pain. The chiropractor and physical therapist treat the pain accurately after assessing how it was obtained.
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Both importantly go about their treatments without using heavy drugs. Lighter drugs will be prescribed to address pain outside patient visits. These will be prescribed while the patient is healing on their own. They’re prescribed when they’re not constantly visiting the chiropractor or physical therapist, or both. But the two make sure not to prescribe heavier drugs like opiates and other painkillers. These help the patient, but at the expense of them getting addicted to the drugs. This will lead to other dangers arising in the future.
Should I Have Chiropractic or Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain?
The chiropractor and physical therapist have different approaches to handling lower-back pain. The chiropractor’s work is more immediate, and more effective with severe pain. The physical therapist will be essential for the recovery process. Their plans overlap enough that a patient should see both. Several places provide both services. It is their intention to get the patient back on their feet and alleviate their pain quickly. Seeing both will increase the chance of a patient’s lower back pain healing quickly. It’s extremely useful when an office provides both methods. This answers whether you should have chiropractic or physical therapy for lower back pain.