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Physical Therapy vs. Chiropractic Care Following an Accident

Posted on September 25, 2014

Should You See a Physical Therapist or a Chiropractor Following an Accident Injury?

Many car accident victims are unsure whether they should undergo treatment by a chiropractor or a physical therapist. In fact, both use many of the same techniques. Alabama courts have upheld the right of physical therapists to perform, among other services, spinal manipulations, which are at the center of the practice of chiropractic. Although the underlying constructs of the two professions differ, many of the actual techniques used to relieve pain are the same or similar. Both also use massage, electronic stimulation, heat and cold therapy, strength building, and spinal alignment as means of pain relief.

When it comes to deciding between the two when you are seeking to recover for your damages in an Alabama personal injury action, your best is to discuss the matter with your attorney. You should have a lawyer with a practice dedicated exclusively to personal injury, because a dedicated personal injury lawyer has extensive experience negotiating claims with insurance companies, knows how adjusters and insurance defense attorneys think, and knows how to present an injury case to obtain the best results for an injured client.

Consult Your Doctor

Your attorney may have a preference, or may suggest that you get a referral to either a chiropractor or a physical therapist from your medical doctor.

In many cases, a doctor will first recommend about six weeks of physical therapy to conservatively work on rehabilitating injured muscles, tendons, and ligaments, focusing on decreasing inflammation and tightness. If that brings no relief, your doctor may suggest chiropractic as an alternative.

The bottom line is that you want the pain to go away. If one type of therapy serves that purpose better than the other, do what works. The important thing is that you remain under treatment as long as you continue to have problems. Your records of ongoing treatment, whether with a chiropractor or a physical therapist, will create a record of what you’re experiencing and how well you’re progressing.

Keep Seeing Your Medical Doctor

Neither a chiropractor or physical therapist should ever be a substitute for a doctor such as an orthopedist—only an additional form of therapy. Insurance companies and juries value treatment by a medical doctor far above that provided by other types of healthcare providers.

Contact our Birmingham personal injury lawyers today.