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A 35-year-old member asked:

what is better for lower back pain, chiropractic therapy or physical therapy?

5 doctor answers13 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gregory Billy
Dr. Gregory Billy answered
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 28 years experience
Depends: Both can help with back pain. The chiropractor tends to provides treatments to the patient to improve their pain, allowing for a passive patient role. Whereas the physical therapist tends to provide treatments (exercises) for the patient to engage in, allowing for a more active patient role. Both approaches can be effective.
Dr. David Miller
Dr. David Miller answered
Family Medicine 10 years experience
A third option: Along with chiropractic and physical therapy, i would also suggest that you consider osteopathic manipulation. Unlike chiropractors and physical therapists, osteopathic physicians are fully licensed physicians that can provide manipulative as well as medical or pharmacological treatment in a holistic fashion according to your specific needs.
Dr. Thomas Namey
Rheumatology 48 years experience
Dr. Namey here! My Uncle Joe Namey is past president of the AOA, head of their GP board. My two brothers were DOs. Do not disagree, but identfying the pain generator is necessary. Iliolumbar ligament disorder is important, pyriformis syndrome, etc. All of these can benefit my manual Rx.
Apr 8, 2012
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology 52 years experience
Diagnosis: You should first seek an orthopedic specialist for persistent pain and any dysfunction. Don't go first to a chiropractor. Chiropractors do not actually diagnose, but find problems from an outmoded theory disproved many times. Your orthopod can recommend medications, rest and proper physical therapy. Surgery is a last resort.
Dr. David Miller
Dr. David Miller commented
Family Medicine 10 years experience
In the clinic where I'm currently rotating, the orthopedists are starting to send their referrals to the DO to have their back (hip, shoulder, etc) pain evaluated and treated osteopathically before they consider surgery. If the DO can't fix it, they send it back to the orthopod. It works better for everyone: patients get relief, the orthopods have fewer operative failures. Win/Win
Mar 12, 2012
Dr. Thomas Namey
Rheumatology 48 years experience
Neither..: 7.5 percent of caucasian patienists are b27 positive, a marker that relates to inflammation of the sacroiliac joints, called sacroiilitis. This problem can be also associated with psoriatic arthritis (phil mickelson-golfer) and other types. You need medication for this to stop inflammation causing the problem. Of course exercise and massage are ueful for sore muscles, but a correct DX is needed.
Dr. J. Yusuf Erskine
Holistic Medicine 32 years experience
Determining the etiology is important; once determined there is a role for manual medicine.
Apr 8, 2012
Dr. Steven Arbit
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 33 years experience
Both chiropractic care and physical therapy have been shown to help low back pain without leg pain. If the symptoms continue after a few weeks, your back should be looked at.
Apr 9, 2012
Dr. Jeffrey Bassman
Dentistry 45 years experience
Depends how severe: Both are viable therapies, but I would consult an orthopedic MD. first to rule out some more severe ailment that won't resolve with just chiropractic and PT- i.e. a severely herniated disk in the neck or back.

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Similar questions

A 50-year-old member asked:

What kinds of physical therapy exercises work for lower back pain?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bryan Levey
Pediatrics 27 years experience
Yoga: There are many reasons and solutions for lower back pain, which is an extremely common complaint. The main problem often stems from weak trunk muscles. The muscles of the trunk support the structures of the back, therefore, strengthen the trunk and the back is better supported. Try yoga, try abdominal exercises, or simply go for brisk walks with good posture.
A 31-year-old member asked:

Thoughts? Could physical therapy help my lower back pain?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Krishn Sharma
Orthopedic Spine Surgery 21 years experience
Very likely....: Most adults will have back pain at some point in their lifetime. Common causes are musculoskeletal, strains, sprains, etc. In the absence of any neurological issues (ie. Muscle weakness) initial treatment includes: nsaid's (like ibuprofen), activity modification, stretching, and physical therapy. See your pcp for a prescription.....
A 32-year-old member asked:

Is there physical therapy for lower back pain?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Douglas Chang
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 21 years experience
Yes!!!: here's a You Tube video I produced with our physical therapists... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20zybMbnVoU and here is a more in depth academic paper, with theory, "A phased rehabilitation protocol for athletes with lumbar intervertebral disc herniation" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3812831/

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Last updated Oct 4, 2016

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