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chiropractors or Physical Therapy?

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  • chiropractors or Physical Therapy?

    I currently got injured during a stunt for a film and sought medical attention. The medical center told me that I had a soft-tissue injury in my neck (basically like whiplash), to take some pain relievers and in 4 to 8 weeks should be fairly healed. After 4 weeks I began training for something else and re-injured the same area on my neck. Now I'm trying to figure out if I should seek physical therapy or a chiropractor? Each tell me to not see the other, and the chiropractor saying I will need adjustments. I had one done and felt worse than ever, while the PT guys are saying adjustments are the LAST thing I want done. Anyone know or have experience on this situation. Thank you, I just want to get better


  • #2
    Chiropractors are the masters of manipulation, and if your neck is stiff and needs 'cracking' to loosen it up, then they might do a good job. They possibly will spin a yarn about putting the joint back in place, which is probably BS, but if the manipulation gives you relief, it doesn't matter what they say.

    Physios are more likely to prescribe strengthening exercises, and more likely to send you on to a doctor if you need tests. Some physios can do neck manipulation but they probably don't specialise in it (in general) as much as chiros.

    Probably 90% of the time, IMO, physios are a better choices than chiros, but it is horses for courses. It goes without saying that there are good and bad practitioners in every profession. There are some butcher surgeons around, even though some necks need surgery, etc etc.


    • #3
      My view on chiropractors is that patients should generally treat them like they treat masseurs. If you go to a chiro, get your back manipulated or otherwise played with, and come out feeling a lot better, then the chiro is doing a good job. Just like if you get your calves rubbed by a masseur, then the therapist is doing a good job. You don't expect a masseur to diagnose a stress fracture of the tibia, you just expect him or her to relieve your tight calves.

      There are exceptions of course (some chiros are good diagnosticians) but I would caution strongly against using most chiropractors for making diagnoses. In particular, there is a tendency for chiros to make diagnoses of problems that will get the patient 'hooked' into coming back for permanent 'adjustment'. Some cynics have suggested that they are taught how to make these diagnoses in their undergrad degrees to encourage patient dependency.

      The rule for chiros is pretty simple. Back pain is a 'pain' diagnosis for the most part, with scans and X-rays being fairly irrelevant in most people if pain isn't present. Therefore, if the chiro is relieving your pain, he or she is doing a good job. If he or she is relieving your cash, but not your pain, then try something different.

      NB This is not to say that other professionals, including physios and doctors, don't have the capacity to make dodgy diagnoses that convince patients to have treatment that they don't need.
      The staff of injury update are not responsible for views of other users posted in this forum.


      • #4
        I trust my Chiro much more than my Doctor for great advice and a full and complete diagnosis. With also first class massages and Chiro, I have not had any need to see a Physio or my Doctor for treatment of any of my injuries for years. When I need xrays or ultrasounds to be sure of any injury, and where the Chiro cannot refer me for them, then I go and get them from my Doctor.

        Presumably you have had your neck xrayed and are completely free of any vertebrae neck fractures and disc bulges. Personally the initial assessment seems way too simple and brief for me!