By Chris Erickson
DPT, Cert MPT, ATC

Chiros and PTs should NOT work together.

This is what some of us were told right?

The stigma is still out there.

The friction and disapproval between professions is still out there.

Some of us were taught in school why the other side is crazy.

Why the other side doesn’t know what they’re talking about and you should not only not work with them, but never send your patients to them.

These opinions can come from anywhere, but in my case, and maybe some others, they came from professors that didn’t even practice on a regular basis the things they were teaching us to do.

The reality and truth is that there are lots of things we agree on and can work together on.

Almost all of us got into the profession of Chiropractic or Physical Therapy because we wanted to help people. We are compassionate by nature and love to serve people.

We want to help them decrease pain and improve their function.

To serve them with our knowledge and expertise.

There are many ways to do this and we have different training and backgrounds, but our goals are very similar. For instance,

We both believe in conservative care, right? Chiropractors and physical therapists are very viable and reliable options for musculoskeletal conditions of the spine and extremities.

We both have loads of evidence on the importance and efficacy of the treatments and care that we provide to our patients.

We are the experts when it comes to diagnosing and treating mechanical pain.

That’s the truth, but not many know it. We do, but the general public and others in the medical community might not.

The general public has been led to believe that taking a potentially harmful medication and getting and expensive and unnecessary advanced image, like an MRI, will somehow give them all the answers the desire and fix the problem.

In fact, most of the people we treat and pour our energy into don’t even know the difference between chiropractic and physical therapy.

They think the chiropractor is the “back cracker” and the physical therapist just stretches some hamstrings and puts a heat pack on them. They are just looking for a solution to their problem and for the most part they don’t care where they get it from. We have to educate them about what we can do for them, in a positive way.

People have many choices and can go to their primary care provider, an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, a chiropractor or a PT.

We know the vast majority of musculoskeletal pain is mechanical and the best solution for that pain and injury is a mechanical solution, like movement, manipulation and exercise, not a chemical or an advanced image. Unfortunately, most of the public doesn’t know this and we try to sell our services and expertise and credentials. For the most part, the public doesn’t care, they just want to feel better. We have a duty and obligation to help our patients avoid unnecessary surgery, injections and medications.

However, we also have a duty and obligation to send our people to the correct medical provider, like the surgeon for example, when it is appropriate for that person.

Yes, we may go about the actual assessment and treatment of our patients in different ways, but the ultimate goal for all of us is giving our patients a successful outcome.

In my practice, I work right alongside an amazing chiropractor.

We often assess our patient’s together and then decide on an appropriate plan of care for that patient. Sometimes is involvesĀ just chiropractic, sometimes just physical therapy, but many times the combination of both.

The opportunities to work together with patients is everywhere. Our people often love the manipulations and care they get from our chiropractor but also want and ask for some specific stretches and exercises for home to give them a plan of action to help themselves, but also aid in the manipulation’s success.

Consumers are getting smarter about their health care and their available choices.

Patient’s appreciate having the dual clinicians putting their heads together and caring for them. They want their medical team giving them what is best for them to speed their recovery.

I understand that it’s not for everyone, but I’ve really enjoyed collaborating with chiropractors. It really takes the right mindset. Practitioners that still believe that the other side is out to get them and steal their patients probably will not adopt this model, but if you have an abundance mindset and understand that there are so many more people out there to help then I suggest developing a good working relationship with someone from the other side of the tracks.

Chiropractors and physical therapists can not only work together but have enhanced results with their patients.