There may be a perception that chiropractors are regarded by medical doctors and physical therapists with some degree of mistrust or skepticism. Though this notion has some historical basis, it is somewhat outdated. Despite the fact that chiropractic care is still regarded as an alternative treatment method, comprehensive scientific studies over the past decade or two have demonstrated its effectiveness and gained the practice a greater measure of respectability.
Ultimately, all health care providers have the same goal: to help alleviate patients’ pain and symptoms. Therefore, if one treatment is not working for a patient, a provider will typically recommend that the patient see a practitioner in another field in which treatment may yield better results. Therefore, if a medical doctor has a patient with pain or symptoms that do not respond to treatment, especially if the complaint relates to the musculoskeletal system, he or she may refer the patient to a chiropractor and/or physical therapist. Conversely, if a chiropractor recognizes that the patient has a problem that is beyond the scope of chiropractic treatment, he or she may refer the patient to a medical doctor or physical therapist, as appropriate.
Relationship Between Chiropractors and Medical Doctors
It is a misconception that chiropractors receive less training than medical doctors. In fact, chiropractors undergo almost as many hours of classroom instruction and field work as medical doctors do in order to become fully qualified and licensed. It is just that the education that a chiropractor receives is different from that of a medical doctor. A doctor of chiropractic medicine is a different credential than a medical degree. As a result, there are some things that a chiropractor cannot do that a doctor can, such as prescribe medication.
Chiropractic care is intended to complement traditional medicine, not replace it completely. Practitioners recognize that there are conditions that chiropractic treatment cannot help and may even make worse, in which case they will not hesitate to refer the patient to a medical doctor to receive the proper care.
Relationship Between Chiropractors and Physical Therapists
On the surface, chiropractic care and physical therapy may appear similar, as each may include modalities of mobilization and manipulation. However, the goals of physical therapy and chiropractic care are actually quite different. The function of physical therapy is rehabilitation, while chiropractic treatment focuses more on supportive care and wellness maintenance. For this reason, chiropractic care and physical therapy can be seen as cooperative with one another rather than competitive. As a matter of fact, some chiropractic practices include a physical therapist on staff to provide patients with more comprehensive care.
Medical doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists can all be valuable members of your health care team. To learn more about how chiropractic care may benefit you, contact an office.