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Chiropractic vs. Physical Therapy In The Wellness World

Maybe you have chronic headaches. Maybe your neck and back are damn unhappy and won’t let you forget it. Whatever your pain, there is no shortage of healing therapies to choose from these days. But two of the best options for these types of injuries or trauma to the body are chiropractic treatments and physical therapy (aka physiotherapy).

Graston Technique

Many people have no idea what the difference is, or how to choose between them. To dispel any confusion, here’s a mini crash course:

Educational requirements

To be a Chiropractic Doctor, you need to complete 4 years of chiropractic school post 4-year Bachelor’s degree, for a grand 8-year-long educational road to becoming a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic (DC).

Before being allowed to practice as a Physical Therapist (PT), you have to earn a graduate degree from an accredited academic program in physical therapy, which usually takes about 3 years. So including your undergrad, about 7 years total to enter the world of professional physical therapy.

We believe a fusion of the two disciplines is the only way forward.

But what do they do exactly?

A physical therapist helps you restore mobility and function in the case of injury, disease, or aging. Physical therapy looks at muscles, tendons, rehabilitation exercises, and the focus is limited to the affected pain area and the muscular strengthening needed to maintain spinal alignment. Your therapist can mobilize (but not manipulate) the joints, which is great for soft-tissue injuries involving damage to the muscles, ligaments or tendons, like sprains, strains, contusions, or issues brought on by overuse. As with advanced physical therapy or sports physical therapy, your PT may apply gentle pressure and stretch the affected tissue, or else use ergonomically designed tools to help mobilize those soft tissues. But what your PT can’t do is make adjustments to your joints, and that’s where your friendly NYC chiropractor comes in.

Chiropractic doctors specialize in biomechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the focus is on achieving spinal alignment by working the joints and nerves. DCs are the only practitioners certified to perform a chiropractic adjustment in the state of New York. The technique is one of the oldest and most commonly used chiropractic techniques. With this type of spinal manipulation, expect your chiropractor to carefully position your body before administering a gentle thrust to a stuck and misaligned joint. These controlled adjustments can bring about chiropractic benefits that are particularly good for pain in your lower back, mid-back, and neck.

Massage Therapy

Holistic health means combining forces

Most people look for either a chiropractor or a physical therapy clinic, but why choose when you can have the best of both worlds? At Urban Wellness Clinic, we provide a truly unique holistic approach, offering both chiropractic and physical therapy. Our ability to look at the body head to toe, I believe, places us among the top clinics in NYC. Sad but true: physical therapists and chiropractors often butt heads and badmouth each other. We believe a fusion of two like-minded and complementary professions in the same space can only lead to the greatest benefit for the patient. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Physical therapy is great for treating the soft-tissues, but it some cases it won’t fix the root cause of the problem: the misalignment of your joints. When combined with chiropractic treatment, the potential for whole body healing is simply multiplied.

So if you’re looking for a chiropractor in New York, come on down to 57th Street in midtown for chiropractic integrative treatments that will consider all of your personal and unique requirements, preferences, quirks, and misalignments. We work to help you heal, in whatever way is the most sustainable. We’re trained as chiropractors, but we’re passionately in love with rehabilitation and with assessing the entire body, so we offer physical therapy in concert with chiropractic treatments. Wellness can’t be segmented. After all, everything is connected, from that ankle sprain to your persistent headache.

For a full assessment, call Urban Wellness Clinic at 212-355-0445 or contact us at

Best in health,

Dr Emily Kiberd