Is a Chiropractor or Orthopedist the Best Choice for You? (2022)

Last Updated: July 15th, 2022 at 08:27 pm

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Whether you've suffered an auto accident or have been prone to sports injuries, attempting to discover the source of your pain is a task in itself. When it comes time to locate a specialist who can help alleviate the issue, you might find yourself wading through countless possible medical offices in your area. With an array of medical news and information at your fingertips, it can be overwhelming trying to pinpoint a specialist for a full-body adjustment.

The orthopedic vs chiropractic debate might come down to your personal preferences. However, it's essential you understand the differences in approach between an orthopedist and a chiropractor before making a decision. After all, your musculoskeletal system is essential to your quality of life - shouldn't you entrust its care to someone who will prioritize non-invasive practices that promote long-term healing? Yes, there are certain situations where there is an objectively correct choice, but there are many others where you will benefit from speaking directly to a chiropractor or orthopedist for consultations in order to form your own opinion.

When it comes to deciding whether to visit a chiropractor or orthopedist for your pain, there are several factors to consider. Both types of specialists are highly educated and trained in treating issues with muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons. However, their approaches to treatment differ greatly.

(Video) CHIROPRACTIC VS ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: Which One Is Right For YOU?

A significant question you may ask yourself is, should I visit a chiropractor or an orthopedist? To make that decision, consider the following orthopedist vs chiropractor factors.

Shared Qualities of Chiropractors and Orthopedists

Chiropractors and orthopedists, also known as orthopedic surgeons, are both highly educated professionals who specialize in musculoskeletal system issues.

Differences in Approach Between Chiropractors and Orthopedists

The most significant difference between orthopedists and chiropractors is their approach to treatment. Orthopedic surgeons typically rely on medications and surgical interventions to treat their patients' conditions. On the other hand, chiropractors take a more natural approach, using manipulation of the spine and joints to realign the musculoskeletal system.

Chiropractors believe that many issues with the musculoskeletal system result from misalignments in the spine. They believe that these alignments can cause pain and other health problems when they occur in the neck, back, and pelvic regions. Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to restore proper alignment and improve the patient's health.

Orthopedists typically do not believe that misalignments in the spine are the sole cause of musculoskeletal issues. They typically rely on medications and surgery to treat their patients' conditions.

When it comes to deciding whether to visit a chiropractor or orthopedist for your pain, there are several factors to consider. Both types of specialists are highly educated and trained in treating issues with muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons. However, their approaches to treatment differ greatly.

(Video) The Truth About Chiropractic Adjustments

In layman's terms, both chiropractors and orthopedists are trained to alleviate the pain in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones with greatly different approaches, and you may find that one or the other suit your preferences better. One would typically visit either a chiropractor or orthopedist if they were experiencing:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Pinched nerves
  • Joint problems
  • Scoliosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Injuries from car accidents and whiplash
  • Issues with spinal discs

Both may recommend treatment such as physical therapy to aid in the healing of such ailments. However, the typical approach to these issues differs vastly among chiropractors and orthopedists.

Differences in Educational Requirements

In order to practice, orthopedic surgeons must complete a four-year undergraduate degree, followed by four years of medical school. They must then complete a five-year residency in orthopedic surgery.

Chiropractors must also complete a rigorous educational journey. After completing a three or four-year undergraduate degree, they must attend a four-year chiropractic college. In order to attain their Doctor of Chiropractic degree, they must complete an internship and pass national board exams.

Upon completion of their education and training, both orthopedists and chiropractors are required to obtain a state license in order to practice.

The most significant difference between orthopedists and chiropractors is that orthopedic surgeons are medical doctors, while chiropractors are not. As a result of this distinction, orthopedists are able to prescribe medication and perform surgery, while chiropractors cannot. This is one of the most significant differences between a back doctor and a chiropractor.

(Video) WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN CHIROPRACTOR AND A ORTHOPEDIC?

The Orthopedic Approach

Though orthopedists treat similar areas of the body as chiropractors, their approach could not be more different. Visiting an orthopedic surgeon often means the patient could be prescribed potentially addictive painkillers, given injections into inflamed areas, or as their name suggests, offered surgery to correct the underlying issue.

Whereas chiropractors and orthopedists will both recommend physical therapy to a patient experiencing pain, an orthopedist will move forward with surgery if the pain does not lessen. Though this might seem like a quick fix to an ailment that could've been sidelining you for years, orthopedic surgery has a plethora of lasting side effects.

To strengthen or repair bones and strained ligaments and muscles, orthopedic surgeons often utilize non-biologic implants. Non-biologic implants are composed of materials that are not intended to change or shift over time, such as mixed metals or plastic.

Following surgery, it can take the body four to twelve weeks to repair and recover - time you may not have if you've already been sidelined due to chronic pain. Likewise, the non-biologic implant put in place to aid in the strengthening of the musculoskeletal system may eventually lead to limited mobility in the area in which the implant was placed.

The Chiropractic Approach

Conversely, a chiropractor will never prescribe drugs or perform surgery on a patient. Chiropractors emphasize the importance of spinal health. When the spine is misaligned, it will negatively affect the nervous system: Hence, leading to an array of health problems, such as joint problems, back and neck pain, and scoliosis previously discussed.

However, instead of opting for an invasive procedure that could potentially set back your healing even further, a chiropractor recommends alternative medicinal practices such as adjustments and acupuncture to treat ailments at their source.

(Video) The Guide to Choosing Chiropractic Osteopathy and Physiotherapy

Likewise, attention to the spine can also alleviate further health issues not addressed by orthopedic surgeons, such as chronic migraines, allergies, asthma, and general tightness and stiffness experienced in the body.

Orthopedic vs. Chiropractor Services: The Bottom Line

When experiencing pain, you want to ensure the specialist you're visiting follows a plan of action that is not only effective but that you feel comfortable with. For broken bones and torn muscles, visit an orthopedist to repair the immediate damage surgically. If you feel as though you would benefit from a non-invasive and more natural treatment, contact a chiropractor to find which methods would have optimal results for you.

Though orthopedists and chiropractors both offer physical therapy as a treatment, their philosophies on how to alleviate pain differ greatly. Orthopedists often prescribe surgery as the first resort, while chiropractors focus on spinal health and adjustments to improve the overall function of the body. When making the decision between which specialist to see for your chronic pain, it is important to weigh all the pros and cons of both approaches. In some cases, orthopedic surgery may be the best option, while in others, chiropractic care could provide more long-term relief.

Get the Specific Answers That You Need: Contact ChiroCare of Florida Now

At ChiroCare of Florida, we want to ensure that you are making the best decisions for your health. If you're still unsure about which specialist to visit for your chronic pain, our team is more than happy to provide you with more information and advice. Contact us today and let us help you get started on the path to relief. During an initial consultation, we will be able to discuss the specific issues you are experiencing and provide you with advice based on your unique circumstances.

ChiroCare of Florida is proud to staff chiropractors Aetna and other insurance companies will cover! We are waiting to get you off the sidelines and back into action again. We understand that your specific needs will not be addressed in the considerations mentioned above, which is why we offer a free consultation in order to discuss your condition, needs, treatment goals, medical and care history, and more.

If pain has sidelined you, call 877-216-6206 to book your free consultation today.

(Video) Orthopedic Surgeon Reacts To Chiropractic (TikTok Chiropractors): Why I Feel Sad | Dr Chris Raynor

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FAQs

Who should you see instead of a chiropractor? ›

Chiropractors are not licensed for surgery so an orthopedic surgeon is the best option for your care. Although there are vast differences between the types of care that chiropractors and orthopedic spine specialists provide, there is crossover between the two.

Can chiropractic make things worse? ›

Serious complications associated with chiropractic adjustment are overall rare, but may include: A herniated disk or a worsening of an existing disk herniation. Compression of nerves in the lower spinal column. A certain type of stroke after neck manipulation.

What kind of pain can a chiropractor help with? ›

A chiropractor treats many conditions affecting the nervous system and musculoskeletal system. Think of a chiropractor as a doctor who cares for any kind of muscle, bone or joint pain or dysfunction.
...
The most common reasons for a chiropractic adjustment include:
  • Lower back pain.
  • Neck pain.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Headaches.
Apr 25, 2022

What does a chiropractor do for lower back pain? ›

Licensed chiropractors adjust the body to improve alignment, ease pain, and restore movement in the spine or joints. This is called spinal adjustment. Recent research shows that it can work as well to relieve pain and discomfort as drugs and surgery, and it is also safer.

Why do doctors not like chiropractors? ›

Historically, the medical associations have demonstrated resentment to any other community treating the ill. So first and foremost, it started out as a turf war. Secondarily, Medical Doctors don't really understand what Chiropractors do, as they were not trained in spinal manipulation techniques.

When should you not see chiropractor? ›

Certain types of Chiropractic Adjustments should be avoided for the following physical contraindications: Severe osteoporosis, cancer in the spine or spinal abnormalities. Numbness, tingling, or loss of strength in an arm(s) or leg(s) An increased risk of stroke or have had strokes.

How do you know if a chiropractor is good? ›

One of the first warning signs to look for is whether the chiropractor schedules excessive visits. If your chiropractor suggests a 3, 6 or 12 month commitment after only the first or second visit, view that as a red flag. With regular attendance to scheduled appoints, injuries heal over time.

Is chiropractic safe for seniors? ›

But it's time to change the stigma around chiropractic care for the elderly. It is a safe and gentle method to promote health and wellness that can provide many advantages to ease pain and bring about relief for the elderly.

How often should you get adjusted by a chiropractor? ›

Common Chiropractic Adjustment Frequencies

To achieve maximum benefits, most injury and pain types will need somewhere between four and twelve sessions. Ongoing maintenance is used to prevent pain from coming back and to prevent additional injuries from forming due to a misalignment of the spine.

Can a chiropractor fix a pinched nerve? ›

When you have a pinched nerve, you can experience persistent symptoms, including pain, muscle weakness, and “pins and needles” sensations. Chiropractic care may be able to noninvasively treat what's causing your symptoms and restore you to full strength and range of motion.

Are chiropractors worth the money? ›

There are plenty of benefits to going to the chiropractor. The improvement in your quality of life is really a stand-out factor. It makes for a happier day-to-day, in a way surgery or other expensive medical treatments may not. However, in chiropractic care, they are an excellent side effect.

What are the side effects of chiropractic adjustments? ›

The most common reactions are local discomfort in the area of treatment (two thirds of reactions), followed by pain in areas other than that of treatment, fatigue or headache (10% each). Nausea, dizziness or "other" reactions are uncommonly reported (< 5% of reactions).

What is best treatment for arthritis in lower back? ›

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids (pills or injections) to reduce pain and swelling. Other medications targeting specific symptoms or triggers of inflammatory arthritis. Physical therapy to improve back muscle strength and range of motion in the spine.

Will a chiropractor help with sciatic nerve pain? ›

A chiropractor might be able to help relieve sciatica pain. Using spinal manipulation techniques and other natural practices, chiropractors can help relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve.

How can I relieve lower back pain without a chiropractor? ›

This treatment includes massage, physical therapy, and exercise in an effort to alleviate low back pain.
...
Here are a few ways you can crack your back through stretches:
  1. Cobra or child's pose.
  2. Rocking stretch.
  3. Slow crunch.
  4. Leg-over-leg stretch.
  5. Using an exercise ball.
  6. Sit and reach stretch.
Dec 22, 2017

Are chiropractors just cracking your back? ›

And remember – don't be alarmed when you hear a popping sound during chiropractic treatment. Your chiropractor is not cracking your back but simply allowing air bubbles to escape during spinal manipulation.

Why are chiropractors considered quacks? ›

Myth #1: Chiropractors Are Quacks

These complaints are false. Chiropractors are real doctors, and they undergo extensive training in science, health, and the human body. In fact, the average chiropractor spends at least four years in a professional program before receiving a Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

How Much Does Medicare pay for chiropractic adjustment? ›

What parts of Medicare cover chiropractic care? Medicare Part B, the portion that helps people pay for doctor visits and some related treatments, covers some aspects of chiropractic care. Once a person meets their yearly deductible, Medicare will usually fund 80% of the cost for chiropractic treatment.

What can a chiropractor not treat? ›

Also, chiropractors do not treat:
  • Thinning of bones (osteoporosis)
  • Broken bones.
  • Bone tumors.
  • Infections.
  • Severe arthritis.

What can you do instead of a chiropractor? ›

One study reviewed patient data from various alternative therapies—such as massage therapy, acupuncture, spinal manipulation, yoga, tai chi, and relaxation techniques—and did not find any serious adverse side effects that resulted from a therapy.

What comes first chiropractor or massage? ›

Generally, chiropractors recommend a massage before any chiropractic adjustments in order to relieve tight muscles for a more effective joint adjustment. Those who just started chiropractic adjustments may also consider massage first before the therapy to reduce any discomfort while the adjustments are being done.

How long should chiropractic treatment last? ›

Each person responds differently to chiropractic treatment and the chiropractic plan and time frame are driven mostly by the patient's age, fitness level, duration of pain, type of injury, and level of discomfort. For chiropractic care to be effective, care typically takes 2 to 4 weeks with visits of 3 times a week.

What should you not do after a chiropractic adjustment? ›

After your adjustment, you don't want your body to immediately revert to the same position it was in. Avoid sitting for long periods of time after seeing the chiropractor, if possible, and enjoy the mobility that your adjustment has created by going for a long walk, or take a bike ride.

How do you know if a chiropractor is scamming you? ›

Look for the warning signs that it's time for you to find a different chiropractor:
  • The Doctor Uses Scare Tactics. ...
  • The Chiropractor Doesn't Provide a Treatment Plan. ...
  • You Have to See the Chiropractor Every Day. ...
  • Your Problem Isn't Being Addressed.

Is chiropractic treatment safe for arthritis? ›

Is Chiropractic Care Safe for Arthritis? If you have back or neck pain due to osteoarthritis, chiropractic is one of the safest therapies you can use, explains Scott Haldeman, MD, a neurologist in Santa Ana, California and Chairman Emeritus of the Research Council for the World Federation of Chiropractic.

Is chiropractic safe for elderly with arthritis? ›

According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractic care can offer the elderly relief from many debilitating conditions such as osteoarthritis, neck and arthritic pain, headaches, insomnia, digestive problems, degenerative disc disease, as well as other conditions that can cause decreased function.

Is chiropractic safe for back pain? ›

Spinal manipulation and chiropractic care are generally considered safe, effective treatments for acute low back pain, the type of sudden injury that results from moving furniture or getting tackled.

Why do chiropractors want you to keep coming back? ›

Changing your posture, changing your spine's ability to move, changing your muscle health and structure take time. Months in fact. All muscles have memory and your body wants to go back to its old patterns instead of creating new healthy ones. That is why adjustments need to be repeated again and again.

Can you get adjusted too much? ›

Manipulations, although safest to be rendered by a licensed chiropractor or chiropractic neurologist, combined with spinal decompression and physical therapy, are some of the best methods of treating headache, neck and low back pain, too many manipulations may loosen and destabilize spinal bones.

Why do chiropractors pull your legs? ›

What is the Adjustment Called When the Chiropractor Pulls on your Leg? This adjustment in which the chiropractor pulls on your leg is called a long axis distraction adjustment. This adjustment is designed to gap the effected joint, in the direction the chiropractor pulls.

What type of doctor treats pinched nerves? ›

It is recommended you see a board-certified neurologist if you suspect you have a pinched nerve. Your neurologist can relieve numbness and tingling by reducing the pressure on your nerves using one of the many neuropathy treatment options available.

How long does it take for a chiropractic adjustment to work? ›

Depending on the extent of the problem, chiropractic care helps patients feel noticeably better shortly after receiving treatment. The general rule of improvement is within 1 to 4 weeks from starting chiropractic therapy. However, this is for non-complex musculoskeletal conditions.

Can a chiropractor fix a bulging disc? ›

Yes! Chiropractic care is the preferred treatment method for many patients suffering from a bulging disc. It is non-invasive and does not require drugs or injections of any kind. Chiropractic can help provide you with improved mobility, decreased pain, and overall better quality of life.

Can a chiropractor Paralyse you? ›

Conclusions Spinal manipulation, particularly when performed on the upper spine, is frequently associated with mild to moderate adverse effects. It can also result in serious complications such as vertebral artery dissection followed by stroke. Currently, the incidence of such events is not known.

Why do I feel worse after a chiropractic adjustment? ›

When you get an adjustment, your vertebrae are being moved slightly. Your muscles have to adapt to the movement of the bone, so they may end up lengthening or shortening slightly, which can lead to soreness. The soreness is related to the movement of the bones and not to the pressure utilized by the chiropractor.

Can a chiropractor damage your neck? ›

The high velocity thrust used in cervical manipulation can produce significant strain on carotid and vertebral vessels. Once a dissection has occurred, the risk of thrombus formation, ischemic stroke, paralysis, and even death is drastically increased.

What are three of the newest drugs for arthritis pain? ›

The newest drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis are the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, which are FDA approved under the brand names Rinvoq, Olumiant, and Xeljanz.

Is walking good for lower back arthritis? ›

Despite all the workouts available, walking remains a tried-and-true form of exercise. Not only is it low-impact for achy joints, it also provides cardiovascular benefits. When considering back pain from arthritis, follow some simple rules to get the most out of your walk: Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Does xray show arthritis in back? ›

X-rays of the spine, neck, or back may be performed to diagnose the cause of back or neck pain, fractures or broken bones, arthritis, spondylolisthesis (the dislocation or slipping of 1 vertebrae over the 1 below it), degeneration of the disks, tumors, abnormalities in the curvature of the spine like kyphosis or ...

Should I go to a doctor or chiropractor for sciatica? ›

Don't waste time wondering if you should see a doctor or chiropractor for sciatica. Chiropractic care is the best way to relieve your symptoms, as it treats the underlying cause of your sciatica without resorting to drugs or surgery.

How do you Unpinch a sciatic nerve? ›

This Weird Trick Relieves Sciatic Nerve Pain - YouTube

How do I get my sciatic nerve to stop hurting? ›

How is sciatica treated?
  1. Appling ice and/or hot packs: First, use ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. ...
  2. Taking over-the-counter medicines: Take medicines to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. ...
  3. Performing gentle stretches: Learn proper stretches from an instructor with experience with low back pain.
Mar 25, 2020

Which medicine is best for back pain? ›

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), may help relieve back pain. Take these medications only as directed by your doctor. Overuse can cause serious side effects.

What can you do instead of a chiropractor? ›

One study reviewed patient data from various alternative therapies—such as massage therapy, acupuncture, spinal manipulation, yoga, tai chi, and relaxation techniques—and did not find any serious adverse side effects that resulted from a therapy.

What do you do when a chiropractor doesn't work? ›

An adjustment may provide some comfort. However, if the issue is recurring or not responding well (or fast) enough, a visit to your doctor may be indicated. There could be more serious or underlying conditions causing your back pain.

Should everybody see a chiropractor? ›

Probably the most obvious reason to visit a chiropractor is if you're suffering from back or neck pain. Some people only visit a chiropractic office when they wake up with occasional back pain. Or if you've been in a car accident, you'll be advised to visit a chiropractor to minimize long-term damage.

Are chiropractors worth going to? ›

There are plenty of benefits to going to the chiropractor. The improvement in your quality of life is really a stand-out factor. It makes for a happier day-to-day, in a way surgery or other expensive medical treatments may not. However, in chiropractic care, they are an excellent side effect.

How can I get my body aligned without a chiropractor? ›

Keep your posture in mind, even if you're taking it easy.
  1. Moving regularly is key! Don't sit for too long, even in an ergonomic office chair. ...
  2. Keep both of your feet flat on the floor. Consider a footrest if necessary.
  3. Keep your back aligned against the back of your chair. Avoid leaning forward or slouching.
Jun 28, 2020

Is chiropractic safe for seniors? ›

But it's time to change the stigma around chiropractic care for the elderly. It is a safe and gentle method to promote health and wellness that can provide many advantages to ease pain and bring about relief for the elderly.

Why do chiropractors want you to keep coming back? ›

Changing your posture, changing your spine's ability to move, changing your muscle health and structure take time. Months in fact. All muscles have memory and your body wants to go back to its old patterns instead of creating new healthy ones. That is why adjustments need to be repeated again and again.

How do you know if a chiropractor is good? ›

One of the first warning signs to look for is whether the chiropractor schedules excessive visits. If your chiropractor suggests a 3, 6 or 12 month commitment after only the first or second visit, view that as a red flag. With regular attendance to scheduled appoints, injuries heal over time.

How long should a chiropractic treatment last? ›

A chiropractic visit typically lasts for up to 30 minutes. An introductory visit typically lasts longer than a “routine” visit. You can expect your chiropractor to ask you questions regarding your objectives and health history during your initial visit.

How long does it take for chiropractic adjustments to work? ›

Depending on the extent of the problem, chiropractic care helps patients feel noticeably better shortly after receiving treatment. The general rule of improvement is within 1 to 4 weeks from starting chiropractic therapy. However, this is for non-complex musculoskeletal conditions.

What are the side effects of chiropractic adjustments? ›

The most common reactions are local discomfort in the area of treatment (two thirds of reactions), followed by pain in areas other than that of treatment, fatigue or headache (10% each). Nausea, dizziness or "other" reactions are uncommonly reported (< 5% of reactions).

How often should you see a chiropractor for alignment? ›

The frequency of the visits to the chiropractor will depend on what your specific needs are. For some people, weekly sessions will be most beneficial. For others, bi-monthly consultations will work just as well. You will need to incorporate other routines to get the most benefit.

How often should you get adjusted? ›

When you are just starting a new treatment plan, it's common to have adjustments multiple times a week. As your body begins to heal, that number could drop to just once a week. And if you are pain-free and simply wanting to maintain your lifestyle, you might only need to get an adjustment once or twice a month.

Why do chiropractors require so many visits? ›

To achieve maximum benefits, most injury and pain types will need somewhere between four and twelve sessions. Ongoing maintenance is used to prevent pain from coming back and to prevent additional injuries from forming due to a misalignment of the spine.

Videos

1. Dr Arlen Lieberman Chiropractic Orthopedist - How to Find a Chiropractor
(Local Business Insights)
2. How to choose a good chiropractor
(Dr. Schnapp's Haus of Krack)
3. Podcast: Should I See a Chiropractor or an Orthopedic Surgeon?
(Columbia Asia Malaysia)
4. Orthopedic surgeon reacts to CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS: Is cracking your back bad?
(Dr. Chris Raynor)
5. SPINE SURGEON Goes to the Chiropractor | Here's how it went....
(Antonio J. Webb, M.D.)
6. Joe Rogan - The Problem with Chiropractors
(JRE Clips)

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