What is the Difference Between a Physiotherapist and Chiropractor?

What is the Difference Between a Physiotherapist and Chiropractor?

understand how physiotherapy and chiropractor can help you in different way

Physiotherapist and chiropractor may operate underneath the same roof, but don’t let this fool you — they are not the same profession. While the services that are offered by physiotherapy and chiropractic professionals complement one another, each job is quite different as it requires its own intensive training and is overseen by its own official regulatory body.

The main difference between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist is that physiotherapists use rehab exercises and mobility techniques while chiropractors use spinal manipulations. Here are some other particulars about each career:


What Does a Chiropractor Do?

Chiropractors are types of healthcare professionals who deal with neuromuscular disorders — i.e., conditions that affect your nerves and your muscles.  They use what is called “manual adjustment techniques” that involve the manipulation of the spine to encourage mobility and diminish pain.

What Kind of Training Does a Chiropractor Need?

To be a practicing chiropractor in Canada, individuals need to complete a considerable number of post-secondary training. This generally involves anywhere between six or seven years of school with thousands of hours of practical apprenticeship. There is then a regulatory exam that needs to be passed that is specific to the individual province or territory.

The two chiropractic schools in Canada are the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and the Université du Québec à Trois Rivières.

Why Seek Help From a Chiropractor?

Most patients who seek help from a chiropractor are experiencing the pain of some kind. The most common ailments are back pain (both lower and upper) and chronic headaches. In some cases, somebody will seek chiropractic care following a motor vehicle accident or another injury. Some patients may receive referrals to chiropractors from their physicians.

The most common conditions that are treated by chiropractors include:

  • Herniated disks
  • Sciatica
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Facial pain

What to Expect From a Chiropractic Appointment?

The first chiropractic appointment is generally an intake assessment. The patient will be asked to fill out a number of forms with specific questions related to their physical pain. After a first session, a chiropractor may be able to provide a diagnosis in terms of whether or not the patient’s condition will respond to chiropractic care, as well as the ideal length of chiropractic care for the individual.


What Does a Physiotherapist Do?

Physiotherapists use specialized exercises and rehab techniques to help improve the mobility of an individual. They have a deep understanding of human anatomy and the connections between muscles and nerve endings.

What Kind of Training Does a Physiotherapist Need?

Physiotherapists in Canada are highly-trained individuals. At a minimum, physiotherapists require a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from a government-accredited college or university in Canada or abroad. These educational programs must include a minimum amount of hands-on practice hours.

Why Seek Help From a Physiotherapist?

As physiotherapy is a field dedicated to improving an individual’s mobility, there could be a wide range of reasons for somebody to seek treatment. Some physiotherapy patients may be healing from a traumatic accident or injury, while some physiotherapy patients may be struggling with chronic pain from an undefined source.

The most common ailments that lead to physiotherapy treatment include:

  • Lower back pain
  • General mobility issues
  • Ankle pain
  • ACL pain
  • Quad pain

Universities that offer physiotherapy degrees in Canada include Dalhousie University, McGill University, the University of Toronto, and Western University.

What to Expect From a Physiotherapy Appointment?

The first physiotherapy appointment will always consist of an initial assessment. In this assessment, a physiotherapist will be able to determine what the best course of treatment will be for the individual, including the treatment’s duration, frequency, and specific exercises.

Physiotherapy and Chiropractic Services From MSK Clinics

MSK Clinics are your go-to for both physiotherapy and chiropractor in the Metro Vancouver area. With locations in Burnaby, Kitsilano, and downtown Vancouver, we are proud to offer our clientele a wide range of holistic services ranging from registered massage therapists, acupuncture, shockwave therapy, chiropractic treatment, physiotherapists and more. Get in touch today to see how we can improve your mobility and enhance your quality of life.