One way each field differs is how they treat their clients.
“We take different approaches to treatment,” said Gregory Schierer, a chiropractor at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.
Schierer said chiropractic care can be split into two groups, “straights” and “mixers” — “straights” adjust or relocate the spine, manipulate joints and work with the nervous system while “mixers” use stretches, various exercises and do a little bit of everything, similar to physical therapy.
Vincent Joseph, a doctor of chiropractic and acupuncture at Rebound Chiropractic in Newport News, said chiropractors also take X-rays and diagnose the patient.
“Also, chiropractors have years of nutritional training to help restore health and some acupuncture for difficult conditions,” Joseph wrote in an email.
While he treats clients of all ages, some of the most common problems his patients express are lower back pain, neck pain or headaches.
“Majority of chiropractors will treat everybody,” Schierer said. “Everybody’s case is a little bit different.”
Michelle Rauzi, a physical therapist also from Sentara, agrees.
“A lot of it does come down to the patient’s expectations,” she said.
Rauzi said there are different facets of physical therapy such as helping clients deal with ailments like a stroke or multiple sclerosis and both chiropractors and physical therapists can see clients or patients without a referral.
Rauzi recommends talking to your primary care doctor or ask family and friends about their experiences, but if it’s something specific, go to a therapist who is trained and certified in the problem.
If neither a chiropractor or physical therapist can solve your problem, they will refer you to a specialist.
Schierer said is it important to remember cells have to regrow which takes time and to communicate with your doctor if you feel you aren’t making progress.
“Within six to seven visits you should see a difference and if you don’t see a difference you should say something,” Schierer said.