When Should You See a Physician and When Should You See a Chiropractor?

Many people wonder whether a medical doctor or a chiropractor is better, but this is really asking the wrong question. Chiropractors are different from physicians in their training and treatment philosophy, but the difference does not necessarily imply that one is better and one is worse.

A better question to ask is whether there is more benefit to seeing a doctor or a chiropractor in your particular situation. Traditional medicine is better at treating certain conditions than chiropractic care, and vice versa. To determine whether you should see a doctor or a chiropractor, ask yourself the following questions.

1. What Seems to Be Causing Your Discomfort?

In other words, do you have an infectious disease that must be treated with medication, or do you have an injury? If you believe that you have a disease, marked by symptoms such as fever or upset stomach, then seeing a doctor would probably be of more benefit than seeing a chiropractor.

If you have an injury, the answer is less straightforward. Acute injuries, such as profuse bleeding or broken bones, are better treated by a doctor. However, if your injury is chronic and developed over time, seeing a chiropractor may be of equal or greater benefit.

2. Does Your Pain Seem to Be Musculoskeletal in Nature?

Research has gone a long way in validating chiropractic care for complaints of the musculoskeletal system, particularly the back. While some chiropractors offer treatment for other conditions — such as gastrointestinal complaints or infertility — there is little research showing it to be effective for these conditions. When in doubt, see a doctor first. He or she has a responsibility to inform you if chiropractic care may be of benefit.

3. What Kind of Treatment Do You Want to Receive?

Doctors prescribe medication and sometimes perform surgical procedures. These can involve serious side effects, such as postoperative infection or addiction to prescription painkillers. Chiropractors do not do either of these things. Instead, chiropractors perform manual manipulation of the joints. In other words, they apply pressure with their hands to move the body structures into a better position, ideally releasing pressure and relieving pain. Although certain physicians called osteopaths sometimes perform manual manipulation, many medical doctors do not. Serious side effects from chiropractic treatment are very rare.

Contact a chiropractor, like a chiropractor from Lotus Wellness Center, to schedule an initial consultation if you think chiropractic care may benefit you. Someone can perform an assessment and discuss a possible course of treatment at your consultation.