There’s a lot of overlap between chiropractors and physical therapists. They pursue similar goals. They use many of the same techniques. They share a holistic approach to treatment.
Doctors in both fields report that nearly every patient who walks in the door asks, “What’s the difference?”
For students who want to pursue a career in treating pain and injury, the question becomes even more pressing. Understanding the difference between physical therapy and chiropractic care can be a key factor in determining which health-care profession is right for you.
Although they share the common goal of treating pain and injuries, the two professions diverge when it comes to their philosophy of practice. You can see both the similarities and differences in their official definitions.
Chiropractors are entrusted with the care of some of the body’s core systems: the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems. So it stands to reason that becoming a chiropractor takes a lot of preparation.
The process for getting your chiropractic license varies depending on where you want to practice. Each state has its own licensing requirements—which enables you to practice only within that jurisdiction—and some are stricter than others.
Before pursuing a career in chiropractic, you’ll need to become familiar with the laws and regulations specific to your state. In general, however, most chiropractors follow a similar path. Below are the basic steps every chiropractor must complete to obtain a license.
My name is Dr. Dave Johnson, I’m a chiropractor. I adjust babies, I adjust grandmothers, I get a chance to work with famous celebrities and athletes like my son Zach Johnson. I change lives, what do you do?
What’s it like to be a chiropractor?
The best thing about being a chiropractor is being able to treat patients and help them along their health path naturally without drugs, without surgery. I mention my son and my son is Zach Johnson, PGA tour player. One of the important aspects of his daily routine on the golf course is to get adjusted and to make sure he’s functioning good. I think I adjusted him about two or three days after he was born. He’s been under chiropractic care all his life as he’s grown up but now that he’s on the PGA tour, on tour they do have chiros at every tournament sight and he gets adjusted on a very regular basis and has soft some soft tissue work done as well and that allows him to function at the highest level that he can and all these guys at world class levels, they want that and they need that so it’s not unusual that you’ll find a very high percentage of players in the PGA using chiropractic as well as other professional sports. I’ve been involved with Mount Mercy University with their sports for I think four years now. We work together with physical therapists, trainers, and even the first year massage therapists treating these players but we still have a great relationship so that sometimes the trainers will refer those athletes to my office because there’s something that is a little more serious and we want to check it out from the chiropractic spinal standpoint. When you are working with individuals you try to do the best you can for those athletes or for those patients. It’s been very fulfilling because your bottom line is your trying to take care of the patient and the athlete. To be able to do that by hand and to get great results and for people to be happy with the care is awesome.
When Shawn Eaton injured his neck at the gym, his medical doctor prescribed the usual painkillers and muscle relaxants. But they didn’t work.
Racked with pain and tired of taking pills, he did what a third of American adults have done: turned to alternative medicine.
Seeing a chiropractor was his brother’s idea. Eaton was skeptical at first, but the sleepless nights were catching up to him. So he went. After just a few spinal adjustments, he was back in the gym and enjoying life again.
Eaton’s story is fairly common, and it’s just one example of the growing acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). More than 33 percent of Americans used alternative therapies in 2012, a slight increase over 2002. Although interest in nontraditional medicine isn’t snowballing like it did from the 1970s to the turn of the century, when CAM use more than doubled, it’s still on the rise.
As a result, the alternative medicine industry as a whole has seen steady revenue growth over the past five years, expanding from nearly $12 billion in 2011 to more than $14 billion this year.
While academic studies are the key component of college life, there are also a variety of other student and family considerations to keep in mind while attending school. Palmer College of Chiropractic offers a number of different support resources to help students with these aspects of their educational experience. Here are a few of the key areas of student and family life that you may want to consider.
Chiropractic research is gaining steam, and doctors are amassing a growing body of evidence proving the success of spinal manipulation therapies.
As new chiropractic technologies and methods are developed and fine-tuned, it’s more important than ever for chiropractors to stay on top of these latest developments. That’s why many states require doctors of chiropractic to continue learning about the field if they want to continue practicing.
To renew your chiropractic license, most state licensing boards demand a certain number of hours of continuing education. But for chiropractors, continuing education is more than just a licensing hoop to jump through.
I’m Doctor Michael Pavalock, I’m a chiropractor. I work for the department of veterans affairs building a health care system which is the best place to receive care and the best place to deliver care, for the veterans today and the veterans that are born today. I’m changing lives, what do you do? I think my interest in taking chiropractic somewhere it has not gone is to create opportunities for chiropractors in this changing health care arena here in the united states by elevating chiropractors within health care systems to a point where they can influence the decision making that’s being done. The new generation of chiropractors today are going to be involved in where health care goes, not just where chiropractic goes, but where health care goes. Chiropractic is low risk, low cost, low invasive treatment that is cost effective, and it’s important because the patients need access to quality care.
For business professional Taylor Rabbetz, walking away from a successful career in business to become a chiropractor wasn’t easy. But he couldn’t ignore his growing passion for helping patients.
“I love what I do: being a chiropractor and helping patients achieve optimal health,” he said.
He’s not the first chiropractor who came to the profession later in life, with no previous health-care experience. In fact, mid-life career changes are becoming increasingly common, and many of today’s chiropractic graduates come from diverse career backgrounds.
Now that the official Social Security retirement age has climbed to 67, some of us can expect to spend 40 years or more in the workforce. That’s a long time to follow just one career path—so many people are choosing not to.
The average Baby Boomer has held 11 different jobs by age 46. Individuals in Gen X envision changing jobs even more than their parents, with three out of four anticipating a return to school during their working years. And 91% of Millennials expect to switch jobs every three years.
Hi, I’m Dr. Joe O’Tool and I am in private practice in the Des Moines area. I am a chiropractor and I focus on improvement of health, prevention of disease and improvement of my patient’s performance. I’m a chiropractor, I change lives, what do you do?
I can truly help people get better. I can help people stay healthy instead of just managing sickness and so that’s, that’s why I really started to pursue the field of chiropractic. I am looking at the body functioning at 100 percent. A couple of things that really stuck out to me as I was looking for an education was one, I want the best education out there, I don’t care where it is if I’m going to be doing something for the rest of my life then I want to be set up well for that so that was one of the biggest things, and then just looking at beyond the education side of things what was there available to help build me as a person. To really come out of school and be a leader in your community and to change lives beyond just what you do in the clinic, that’s where Palmer rises above, far and beyond every other school out there. When I was at Palmer I had the opportunity to represent the school with the Campus Guides and the Student Alumni Foundation and I was able to go meet with politicians and have some round table discussions with some politicians and really start to, to get to know what it’s like to reach out into my community and lead in that way. I truly feel more prepared than I expected to be coming out of school and those things really helped prepare me for who I am today.
Of all patients in need of chiropractic treatment, U.S. military veterans might need it the most.
Simply walking around in heavy combat gear gives rise to all kinds of musculoskeletal injuries, and chronic pain afflicts 44 percent of military personnel who have been deployed for combat, compared to just 26 percent of the general population. Veterans also use prescription painkillers at a much higher rate—15 percent, compared to 4 percent of the general public.
Chiropractic care can be a lifesaver for ailing veterans, treating the root cause of chronic pain by providing a safer, non-drug alternative.. In addition to easing back pain, a chiropractor can help alleviate neck pain, pain from accidents or injuries, muscle spasms, headaches, sciatica, pinched nerves, PTSD, traumatic brain injury and more.
Although federal policy requires veterans to have access to chiropractic care, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hasn’t yet made the services widely available. In fact, although the VA provides chiropractic care at roughly 40 of its major treatment centers throughout the nation, it still has failed to provide chiropractic treatment at 120 of its other major medical facilities. As a result, veterans, like those profiled in this article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, report waiting up to two months to see their VA’s only chiropractor.