Counting Physical Therapy In
Like chiropractic care, a primary goal of physical therapy is to heal and treat without relying on drugs and therapy. One of the chief differences is that physical therapy is more closely associated with mainstream medicine and is even prescribed by medical practices before and after surgery.
PT (and chiropractic care, for that matter) goes back to ancient times when massage and the relief that comes from water that we now call hydrotherapy are believed to be used by Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine. In a sense, you could say he is also the father of physical therapy. However, it took centuries before PT was regarded as accepted health care, although one element, fitness training, pre-dates it by centuries. PT went mainstream with the polio epidemic in the 1940’s and 1950’s when manual therapy techniques were used to help restore muscle function.
The modern physical therapist is also trained in massage, but specialties now include post-operative care, orthopedic, cardiovascular and neurologic and pulmonary rehabilitation. Those specialties are usually just that, and few physical therapy practices provide treatment in all of these areas.
Integrating Multiple Therapies
Physical therapists and chiropractors can work together under the same roof, so to speak, to provide integrated care.
Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy believes that “physical therapy is probably the best thing out there for treating the muscular components of the spine.” It is also critical for functional improvements, postural improvements, flexibility and strength.
“However, the big difference between hospital-based physical therapy, a stand alone physical therapy center, and an integrated center like ours, is the applied philosophy of what works best,” Dr. Butler reports. “We believe that integrated physical therapy with other therapies lead to a faster and more comprehensive patient response.”
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) explains that PTs examine each care recipient (“patient” is generally not used because it applies to medical care) and “develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability.” In addition, PTs develop fitness programs for individuals as a means to maintain or improve mobility, as well as ensuring more active and healthier lifestyles with programs they can follow on their own. In post-operative therapy, for instance, care continues after leaving PT via programs the individual can use on his or her own.
There are obviously many similarities between PT and chiropractic care, and the integration of the two healing disciplines is a natural transition under the all-encompassing umbrella of health care.