ZocdocAnswersWhat is the difference between a physical therapist and a chiropractor?

Question

What is the difference between a physical therapist and a chiropractor?

I fell awhile ago and my back has been hurting a lot. My mom recommends a chiropractor, but I feel that a therapist would be better.

Answer

It is always a good idea to schedule a visit with a sport medicine doctor after you have had a fall especially there is severe back pain or injury sustained from the fall as it seems to be so in your situation. During your visit your doctor can order an x-ray image or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) to diagnose or rule out any problems caused by the fall. Your doctor will examine you so that he or she can assess your muscular and sensory problems contributing to your back pain to ensure that there is no injury to your ligaments or back muscles (such as strain or sprain), injury to your disc (a slip disc), compression fractures, and disc herniations, etc. After a complete evaluation to rule out severe trauma to your body and diagnose any underlying problems that may manifest in the future, your doctor may refer you to a chiropractor or a physical therapist depending on what problems are causing your back pain. Your doctor may recommend a visit to a chiropractor to ensure proper alignment of spine and joint systems of your body. A physical therapist may be referred to provide you treatments through exercises which help you restore your muscle flexibility, mobility and function. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.