chiro vs physio for back pain

Why Combining Chiropractic + Physiotherapy Is So Effective

On their own, physiotherapy and chiropractic care can both be very effective treatment approaches for a number of different of ailments.Many patients who seek help from their chiropractor usually complain of back, neck pain or headache. In addition, patients with knee, shoulder or sporting injuries commonly seek out the help of their physiotherapist.

There is quite a fair bit of overlap between the two approaches as both can be quite helpful for the same injury. However, for those patients with more complicated problems that find their progress difficult or stalling, combining the two approaches can be a good option in helping them achieve the improvements they are after

chiropractic and physiotherapy

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractors are often focused on assessing the health of your spine and determining how any problems in your spine may be affecting your back or other parts of your body. When problems are detected, chiropractic treatment is then carefully administered through the use of joint or spinal adjustments in order to improve the mechanics and movement of your joints and spine, thereby improving the ability of your body to heal and repair.

In addition to the adjustments, chiropractors will often provide patients with additional information on things such as specific exercises, dietary and supplement recommendations and postural or ergonomic strategies in order to enhance their recovery. A visit with your chiropractor will usually last between 5 to 20 minutes

chiropractor or physiotherapist


Physiotherapy often centres around identifying deficiencies in larger or whole body movement patterns as well as recognizing any muscular imbalances or weaknesses. Your physiotherapist is dedicated to helping you move more easily and without pain.

There are many areas of specialty in physiotherapy. Some of these include sports, orthopedics, pediatrics, senior care, cardiopulmonary, neurological, dance, women’s health or needling. Treatment with your physiotherapist can include some of the following techniques:

  • bracing or taping
  • cupping
  • exercise rehab including clinical pilates and Gyrotonic exercises
  • hands-on manual therapy
  • improving your core stability
  • IMS or dry needling
  • individualized corrective exercises to either stretch or strengthen key areas
  • modalities such as ultrasound or laser
  • osteopathic treatment
  • postural correction tips
  • visceral manipulation

Physiotherapy sessions are usually 30 minutes in length. If you have a more complex problem or multiple injury sites, longer session are also available for 45 minutes or 60 minutes if needed

The Best Of Both Worlds

If you are dealing with a more challenging or complex injury, major breakthroughs in your recovery often happen when both approaches are used in combination with each other. Much like building a fence, the first step is often ensuring that the fence post is vertical and in the correct position. Once that is established, concrete is then poured around the fence post in order to help it stay in the right position and alignment.

First, normal function and movement are restored to a previously injured area. Once this is done, all your other soft tissues around your injury are checked to make sure they are working properly. With normal coordination of all your body parts comes improved function and a return to more normal movement

what is the difference between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist

Peanut Butter & Jam

Just as both peanut butter and jam are each delicious on their own, by combining the two, you create the classic PB&J (peanut butter and jam) sandwich that is enjoyed by millions around the world. By combining physiotherapy and chiropractic care, especially for those that have more complex or nagging injuries, you get the best of both worlds and might finally be able to get the improvements in your health and life that you were looking for.

For many patients, chiropractic care provides the necessary pain and symptom relief so they can take advantage of the break in their pain cycle and rehab their bodies, making them stronger and more flexible during their physiotherapy session

We Can Help

If you are dealing with a more complex or chronic problem that requires a team approach, reach out to us to speak with one of our North Burnaby Heights health practitioners. They can help you find out the best way to help you get relief and get back your life.

Whether it is a visit with your chiropractor to ease your stiff neck, or a rehab session with your physiotherapy to help you recover from a knee sprain, your team help you find the most effective way to get pain relief and moving freely again. For more complicated or serious problems that have become chronic, physiotherapy combined with chiropractic care may be the answer to your health challenges

Schedule Your Session

Phone 604-738-1168

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist?

A: Though they are both very similar, there are slight differences between the two. Chiropractors tend to perform more spinal ant joint adjustments and treat more back and neck problems. Physiotherapists tend to focus more on movement and function and treat more arm and leg injuries.

During visits with your chiropractor, you will likely receive chiropractic spinal and joint adjustments. These adjustments help improve the mobility and function of your spine to aid your healing. Your physiotherapy session may include treatments such as exercise prescription, postural recommendations, needling and manual therapy

Q: Can I see my physio and chiro on the same day?

A: Absolutely! Seeing one does not prevent you from seeing the other, as they are often complementary treatments to each other. There are many benefits to seeing both even on the same day. Not only does it save you time, gas and is good for the environment, your chiropractic and physiotherapy sessions often build on each other to enhance your recovery.

In addition to providing in-person, hands-on care, virtual or online telehealth sessions are also available. This option provides a handy method for you to still benefit from care while staying inside in the comfort of your own home

Q: Do I need a referral to see my physiotherapist or chiropractor?

A: You can make appointments to see both your chiropractor and physiotherapist directly, no referral is needed in either case. Both physiotherapists and chiropractors can assess, diagnose and treat many different neuromusculoskeletal conditions. They form important parts of your healthcare team, and collaborate with your other healthcare providers to deliver the care you need.

Most health insurance policies provide coverage for both chiropractic care and physiotherapy services. Other third party insurance providers such as ICBC and WorkSafeBC also provider coverage for treatments for patients involved in related accidents. Depending on your status, the Medical Services Plan of BC may also provider partial coverage for visits under the Supplementary Benefits program

Results will of course vary from person to person