Chiropractor vs. Orthopedic Doctors: What’s the Difference?

May 20, 2022

Common Reasons to See a Chiropractor and Orthopedic CareAre you looking for a new doctor? Perhaps you need a doctor to help with a recent injury, or you hope to find a doctor who can help treat your chronic pain. A wide range of musculoskeletal conditions can be treated by both chiropractors and orthopedic doctors. So how do you know which doctor to choose? It can help to get a better understanding about what’s the difference between an orthopedic doctor vs. a chiropractor. When it comes to treatment options for injuries, chronic health conditions, or infections, you want to find a doctor near you who will make you feel comfortable. Consider the shared qualities between Tucker chiropractors and orthopedic doctors to help you make the best decision for you and your health care goals.

What Does a Chiropractor Do?

A chiropractor completes a bachelor’s degree before pursuing additional education at a four-year chiropractic college. Chiropractors earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, which includes certified classroom and internship experiences. In order to become a licensed chiropractor, a chiropractor must also pass national board exams. Chiropractors study the relationship between the spine and nervous system and how that impacts healthy functioning throughout the body. A chiropractor will assess the whole spine and identify any misalignments that may contribute to your pain or other symptoms. Chiropractic care is an all-natural treatment option that takes a holistic approach to manage illnesses and injuries. In fact, you don’t even need to have an injury or illness to see a chiropractor. Chiropractors also provide maintenance support and preventative care to help your whole body function at its best. A chiropractor will help identify ways to improve your healthy functioning everywhere in the body, not just your spine and joints.

What Does an Orthopedic Doctor Do?

An orthopedic doctor completes a bachelor’s degree before attending medical school. Medical school typically lasts for four years, followed by a five-year residency program in orthopedic surgery. When an orthopedic doctor completes all levels of education, they become a medical doctor. Orthopedic doctors must also complete national licensing exams to practice medicine, write prescriptions, and perform surgery. An orthopedic doctor will typically look at nonsurgical options with you before resorting to a more invasive procedure like surgery. Not all orthopedic doctors will even perform surgery. They may focus more on diagnosing conditions and offering minimally invasive treatments. When you visit an orthopedic doctor, they will treat a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries and issues. Orthopedic doctors use a wide range of treatment techniques to diagnose and treat injuries and health conditions that impact bones, joints, muscles, and other soft tissues.

Similarities in Going to a Chiropractor vs. Orthopedic Doctor

Chiropractors and orthopedic doctors do tend to treat similar areas of the body. You could visit a chiropractor or an orthopedic doctor for a spinal injury, dislocated joint, or broken bone. You could also visit a chiropractor or an orthopedic doctor for a muscle sprain or a recent car accident injury. Both chiropractors and orthopedic doctors can provide you with non-invasive treatment options for a health condition or injury. The musculoskeletal system includes the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues in the body. A chiropractor and an orthopedic doctor will both have extensive training and experience working with the musculoskeletal system. Your trusted Tucker chiropractor or Tucker orthopedic doctor will have your best interests at heart and provide you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan that addresses your specific symptoms and needs for recovery.

Differences in Chiropractic vs. Orthopedic Care

The main difference between chiropractic care and orthopedic care involves the approach to treatment. Orthopedic doctors can prescribe medications and offer a wide range of treatment options, from completely non-invasive to surgical interventions. Chiropractors, on the other hand, do not write prescriptions and only use hands-on and non-invasive treatment approaches. A chiropractor takes a holistic approach and looks at how disruptions in your spine and nervous system can impact other parts of the body. Chiropractors use techniques like chiropractic adjustments to restore proper alignment to your spine and joints. When your spine and joints are properly aligned, it allows your brain to effectively communicate with the rest of your body without disruption to nerve functioning. A chiropractor will also work with muscles and other soft tissues that support your spine and joints to improve strength and stability in the area.

Orthopedic doctors generally treat the same symptoms and conditions as a chiropractor, but with a different approach. Most orthopedic doctors will talk to you about the range of treatment options available to you: including minimally invasive methods, prescription medications, and surgery when appropriate. Orthopedic doctors are physicians who can diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate injuries and health conditions that affect any part of your musculoskeletal system. If you suffer a broken bone or dislocated joint and go to the hospital, then you will likely meet with an orthopedic doctor. Orthopedic doctors can put casts on broken bones and do surgeries to help with more serious breaks and other issues that cannot be addressed with nonsurgical treatment options.

Common Reasons to See a Chiropractor and Orthopedic Care

Common Reasons to See a Chiropractor and Orthopedic CareBoth chiropractors and orthopedic doctors receive extensive training and practical experience in alleviating pain that impacts your entire musculoskeletal system. From back and neck pain to osteoarthritis, both types of doctors can help you heal and recover. Here are common reasons why you might see a chiropractor or orthopedic doctor.

Car Accident Injuries

Car accident injuries can impact so many different parts of the body. The force of impact will put a significant amount of pressure on your spine and joints. Your head and neck may jolt around and lead to a common injury like whiplash. You may suffer scrapes, bruises, and other injuries. A car accident doesn’t even have to be serious for you to get injured. Some people need treatment for a car accident injury after a minor fender-bender. A general rule of thumb for car accidents is that if your car took any kind of damage, then your body likely did, too.

Sports Injuries

Sports injuries commonly affect the musculoskeletal system. From injuries that occur while playing contact sports to repetitive use injuries in activities like running or swimming, a sports injury can leave you in pain. Sports injuries can also have a negative impact on your movement and range of motion. A sports injury can cause pain and stiffness in your joints, which can make it difficult to participate in activities you enjoy. Chiropractors and orthopedic doctors both treat sports injuries and can even help you improve your performance and reduce the risk of future injuries on and off the field. From weekend warriors to professional athletes, orthopedic doctors and chiropractors who specialize in sports medicine can provide you with a personalized treatment plan to help minimize the effects of physical activity on your body and help boost your overall performance.

Slip and Fall Injuries

A sudden slip and fall could cause a serious injury like a broken bone or dislocation. You might even hit your head and get a concussion. Both orthopedic doctors and chiropractors treat slip and fall injuries by addressing your symptoms and helping you regain your strength and mobility. Both types of doctors can work with you to improve your balance and help prevent future falls. When your body isn’t functioning at its best, you may be more prone to trips or slips that can put you at greater risk for an injury. Gaining stability and strength can help you move with confidence.

Chronic Pain

Millions of people visit their orthopedic doctor or chiropractor each year because of pain. When left untreated, an injury or health condition can lead to chronic pain. Your chiropractor or orthopedic doctor can address the root cause of what is causing your chronic pain and help you experience long-lasting relief. A common cause of chronic pain that impacts your musculoskeletal system is arthritis. Chiropractors and orthopedic doctors diagnose and treat chronic pain by reducing inflammation, stiffness, and tenderness with their various treatment techniques and approaches. Visit a chiropractor for natural pain relief or talk to your orthopedic doctor about minimally invasive options.

The AICA Orthopedics Difference

At AICA Orthopedics, we recognize the benefits of chiropractic care and orthopedic care. Our team of doctors comes from a wide range of specialties, including chiropractors, orthopedic doctors, neurologists, and physical therapists. AICA Orthopedics in Tucker offers every patient a chance to experience comprehensive care with doctors from various specialties, all working together to treat your pain and injuries. We even have state-of-the-art diagnostic tools available in the office, which means you can get X-rays, CT scans, or even an MRI and then meet with your doctor all in the same location. The AICA Orthopedics difference includes the convenience of going to one place for everything you need to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, and work through your recovery and rehabilitation. The bottom line about chiropractors vs. orthopedic doctors is that both actively work with you to help you effectively recover and get back to living your best life!


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