65 million Americans reported a recent issue with back pain. 8% of adults complain of chronic back pain.

Are you suffering from a headache, neck ache, or back pain? If you have recently been in a car accident, you will likely feel back and neck pain.

You might be desperate for relief from your pain but aren’t sure who can really help. What’s the ANNO_ADVERBS choice, chiropractor vs. physical therapy for back pain?

Read on for a definitive comparison of chiropractor vs. physical therapy and the pros and cons.

Common Accident Injuries

Many people end up looking for relief following an accident. A car accident can cause various impact injuries that can lead to pain throughout the body.

A common accident injury is whiplash. A sudden hard impact can cause your head to snap forward and back with a hard motion. When this happens, the soft tissues in your neck stretch beyond their normal range.

Spinal cord injuries are another common injury in accidents. This type of injury is often connected to significant pain that can turn chronic.

Sprains and muscle stains are also common. Anytime your body is thrown or twisted, you can injure muscles and other tissues in the body.

Each of these injuries is common due to a car accident and would likely be treated by a chiropractor or physical therapist.

Chiropractor Vs. Physical Therapy for Back Pain

Both a chiropractor and a physical therapist will treat back pain with non-surgical methods. Since their approach has some key differences, it’s good to know which option would best address your needs.

A chiropractor will focus their attention on the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal system with a specific focus on the spine. They may focus their attention on the alignment of the spine and other joints in the body.

Physical therapists will focus on rehabilitation following an injury or surgery. They will help a patient function and move in parts of their body experiencing pain.

A chiropractor and a physical therapist will help a patient build up their range of motion and strength in the injured area of the body.


As you decide on a treatment plan, it may help you to know about the training of a chiropractor and a physical therapist. Both have similar training protocols.

A chiropractor must first complete a four-year undergraduate program. They will then complete a four-year Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) program. Their studies include learning in depth about:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Other basic sciences

During their studies, their training includes extensive in-the-field internships.

A physical therapist must first completes a four-year bachelor’s degree program. They must then complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. Their studies include:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Biomechanics of movement
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation techniques

A physical therapist must also complete extensive internships to get hands-on patient treatment experience.

Treatment Goals from a Chiropractor and Physical Therapist

Ultimately, a chiropractor and a physical therapist should have the same goal when you come to them with pain. They should work to address your pain by identifying its source and developing a treatment plan.

How they go about treating your back pain is likely different.

A chiropractor is going to work on the spinal alignment of the vertebrae. They’ll use manual alignment to help achieve their goal.

Chiropractors want to move vertebrae back into their correct position, hoping the outcome is that the pressure is removed from nerves in the back that might be causing pain.

As a physical therapist treats a patient in pain, they’ll first work to address what’s causing the pain. The treatment plan will include building strength, improving flexibility and range of motion, and restoring mobility.

Goals for Addressing Back Pain

Again, the goals should be to treat and eliminate back pain. Whether you see a chiropractor or a physical therapist might depend more on what’s triggering your back pain.

For example, a chiropractor is likely a better choice if you’ve suffered an impact injury to your spine. It may be out of alignment, and the vertebrae are putting pressure on nerves and other soft tissues in the back, causing the pain.

Many car accident victims suffer from muscle sprains and strains because of how they were jerked or thrown during an accident. Whiplash is an example of this.

A physical therapist will be a good choice for this type of injury. They can work on the pain with heat and ice, and then address weakened range of motion issues too.

Advantages of Physical Therapy

Using a physical therapist for pain has many advantages.

A physical therapist focuses on rehabilitation from an accident, injury, or surgery. They will work to rehab the area of your body feeling the pain.

Some pain does require medication to alleviate it. Often a physical therapist can address pain issues by working on tenderness and inflammation.

A physical therapist can work on gait training and often get positive results for back pain and spinal injuries.

Physical therapists can use massages, heat, ice, and stretching to help reduce pain and the complications from it.

Advantages of Chiropractic Care

There are also advantages to treating back pain by visiting a chiropractor.

A chiropractor can zero in on your spine and what’s happening with it to trigger neck and back pain.

A study found that 92% of people seeking chiropractic care for pain were satisfied with the results.

Chiropractic care can also reduce the need for pharmaceutical treatments for pain.

Get the Treatment You Need for Neck and Back Pain

Suffering from chronic neck and back pain can turn your life upside down. It can prevent you from doing even the simplest things in your life. Debating a chiropractor vs. physical therapy for back pain, the truth is that both are good choices for treating your pain.

If your back pain results from a car accident caused by someone else, you deserve compensation for the disruption this has caused in your life. Contact us today to discuss your possible case for compensation.