Should I See a Physio or Chiro for Back Pain?

back pain

About 4 million Australians (16% of the total population) have back problems, based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2017–18 National Health Survey (NHS). According to international figures, it appears that up to 80% of the world’s population has experienced some form of back pain at one time or another.

Most of us don’t think too much about how to fix our back pain at first because it tends to come and go. However, it’s best to address it early before it affects your ability to get out of bed, sit at work, exercise or even play with your kids. 

Not being able to work, exercise or do the things you love can lead to a significant increase in stress. Not working can lead to increase worry about your financial situation, or having poor sleep due to back pain has the domino effect of feeling lethargic and difficulty concentrating throughout the day.

In view of these problems, it is easy to see how back pain if left untreated, can not only prevent people from leading a normal life but can also severely impact their overall health and wellbeing through increased stress and anxiety.

If you are reading this article, there is a good chance that you or someone you know is experiencing back pain on some kind of recurring basis. Let’s start with some really good news. In most cases back pain doesn’t indicate a chronic problem and can be treated very effectively, without medication, using modern therapeutic treatment plans administered by a qualified Physiotherapist or Chiropractor. 

Is a Chiro or Physio Better for Back Pain?

Actually, that’s only half the question. The real question is, “who is better able to remove the symptoms I am experiencing and get my spine back to a healthy working order?”. Before you decide on which one is better, it’s important to know the type of pain you’re experiencing and the root cause of your symptoms.

OK, let’s define what back pain is

Back pain is a term that describes a range of conditions related to the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerves of the back. These conditions can affect the neck (cervical spine), upper back (thoracic spine) and lower back (lumbar spine) as well as the pelvis (sacrum) and tailbone (coccyx).

back pain

When Should You Not See a Chiropractor?

Patients with herniated discs and those with severe arthritis should seek advice from specialist physicians before seeing a Chiropractor. If there is a physical abnormality or injury in your body, such as a fracture, chiropractic care may not be for you. People with osteoporosis (weak bones) and those with fragile health should also check with their GP before beginning chiropractic care.

So, what’s the best way to determine if you could benefit from seeing a Chiropractor? Simply talk to a Chiropractor! Chiropractors are the best professionals to consult if you want to know whether your condition can benefit from chiropractic care. A simple consultation in which you detail your symptoms and medical history along with imaging tests to check for physical irregularities can help a Chiropractor determine if they are the best clinician to help you.

Another difficulty in making a wise treatment decision is that the real cause of back pain can be quite elusive. Pain in one area of the body such as the shoulder might be muscular, or it may, in fact, be caused by misalignment in another area of the body such as the neck or spine.

So again, the best advice we can offer is to talk to a Physiotherapist or a Chiropractor about the problems you’re facing and how they would approach your treatment before making a decision on which option to take.

What Does a Chiropractor Do?

Chiropractic is a five-year full-time degree. 

Chiropractic training focuses on the spinal structure, function and control. They learn a wide range of specific spinal techniques, ranging from those that involve manipulation to localised areas and soft tissue techniques. They are also taught how to exercise to improve movement and build strength. 

Chiropractic care covers many health conditions for people of all ages. A Chiropractor’s primary area of practice centres on the treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal-related problems. They focus on restoring normal functional movement to the spine and strengthening the surrounding structures.

Chiropractic care may be a helpful treatment option if you have:

  • back pain
  • neck pain
  • joint pain (like your knees, hips, and elbow)
  • Headaches

What Does a Physiotherapist Do?

Physiotherapy is a four-year full-time degree.

Physiotherapists are trained in spinal assessment and treatment. Physiotherapy’s primary aim is to improve the movement and function of your joints and muscles to get you back to normal mobility. They tend to focus on soft tissue techniques, stretching and strengthening exercises to restore function and get you back to doing the activities you love.

Physiotherapy training has a much broader scope than the Chiropractic degree. They are renowned for their treatment of sporting injuries, such as joint sprains and muscle tears, but also work widely with people recovering from a stroke, women’s health issues, post-surgical rehabilitation and diseases such as osteoporosis, cystic fibrosis or multiple sclerosis.

Physiotherapy may be a helpful treatment option if you:

  • Have limited movement due to:
    • an accident
    • injury
    • surgery
    • a health condition
  • Want to maintain or increase your ability to move with ease
  • Need to build strength and combat the effects of health conditions, such as:
    • osteoarthritis
    • rheumatoid arthritis
    • multiple sclerosis
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • stroke
    • COPD

Do Chiropractors and Physiotherapists Assess Back Pain Differently?

The best Chiropractors and Physiotherapists will do a very thorough assessment of your spinal function. It will consist of:

  • A thorough history
  • A detailed postural and functional examination
  • Any other tests such as x-rays, CT scans or an MRI if deemed beneficial

One of our main goals throughout this article has been to provide you with accurate information in order to demonstrate that the best treatment is always based on an accurate diagnosis and regular assessment of your progress.

Why Are We Different? We Combine Physiotherapy and Chiropractic Treatment

At Masnad Health, we operate a multidisciplinary clinic that offers Physio, Chiro, Dietitian and Hijama or Wet Cupping treatment. We find that by combining Physiotherapy and Chiropractic care for treating back pain, the client’s recovery is accelerated. 

At our clinic, a typical treatment journey for low back pain is 2 sessions per week for 2 weeks (one is a Physio treatment and the other is a Chiro treatment on another day). We like to consider this as the WD40 phase, lol. This is the part where we focus on reducing pain and regaining your movement or flexibility.

For the next 4 weeks, we reduce treatment to only once a week, and we alternate between Physiotherapy and Chiropractic care. Here the Physio begins to focus a lot more on the strengthening aspect of the rehab, while the Chiropractor makes sure the spine and lower limbs are aligned via their chiropractic adjustments. 

The benefit here is you have more than one pair of eyes assessing and treating you. Also, as noted above, the body is very complex. Sometimes an issue in your knee or ankle on one side can cause you to put more pressure on the other leg. This imbalance leads to lower back pain. Hence we need to address the root causes also by treating other areas contributing to your symptoms.

We also like to enhance our treatment with Hijama or Wet Cupping therapy which is an extremely beneficial treatment that removes inflammation underneath the skin and in the muscle. It also provides some extra pain relief naturally and reduces the dependence on pain-relieving medications.

Once again, we cannot stress enough the importance of a thorough diagnosis and committing to a treatment plan. At times a client may have weight problems or an inflammatory gut condition that is triggering their lower back pain. Issues such as these are often overlooked, and that is why we consider the inclusion of services such as seeing our Dietitian an essential part of our treatment plan so we can address the root cause of your problem.

If you live in the Canterbury Bankstown region and suffer from Lower Back Pain, then you should contact the team at Masnad Health Clinic. They have fully qualified Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Hijama Therapists and Dietitians who can help treat your back pain.

To find out more about our services or to Book Online click on the button below or simply call us on 02 9793 8840. At Masnad Health Clinic we are always happy to discuss possible treatment options, and we always provide a thorough treatment plan to suit your needs.

  Book Appointment Online     View Our Services

Share This

Related Posts