14 doctors weighed in:

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

14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Thomas Namey
Internal Medicine - Rheumatology
3 doctors agree

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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. Thomas Namey
Dr. Thomas Namey
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2 comments
Dr. J. Yusuf Erskine
Determining the etiology is important; once determined there is a role for manual medicine.
Dr. Steven Arbit
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.
David Miller
Family Medicine
3 doctors agree

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
David Miller
David Miller
Answer assisted by David Miller, Medical Student
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1 comment
Dr. Thomas Namey
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.
1 doctor agrees

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Dr. Jeffrey Bassman
Dr. Jeffrey Bassman
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Dr. Gregory Billy
Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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. Gregory Billy
Dr. Gregory Billy
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Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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. Richard Bensinger
Dr. Richard Bensinger
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1 comment
David Miller
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
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