Chiropractor vs. Physical Therapy – What’s Better for an Injury Case?

Chiropractor vs Physical Injury

Disclaimer: The materials on this website (a) have been prepared by Express Legal Funding LLC (Express Legal Funding) for informational purposes only, (b) do not constitute legal advice, and (c) are not guaranteed to be complete, up-to-date, or accurate in all respects as laws are constantly changing.

Chiropractor vs Physical Injury

After an injury, one central question pops to mind after the shock wears off. What kind of treatment will you need? It is a reasonable and straightforward question whose relevance cannot be understated.

Finding the right kind of treatment, or even treating at all, can be a considerable debate following an injury. Your rehabilitation options boil down to two leading contenders in most injury cases: chiropractic treatment or physical therapy. Regardless of the circumstances of the damage, you will likely find yourself weighing the pros and cons of both treatment methods to ensure you do not overexert your finances in your effort to recover.

This article will guide which kind of treatment is best following an injury sustained in an accident.

Let’s get started!

What Can Chiropractors Do For You?

Chiropractors are an often underappreciated form of pain management professionals. However, they remain one of the most sought-after treatment options following a severe injury due to a car accident. Even if you weren’t involved in an auto accident, you might have reservations about seeking out their services if you are unaware of the chiropractic treatments available for your injury.

Chiropractors offer a wide assortment of treatments designed to address neck pain and back pain, which is very common among those who have been in motor vehicle accidents. One of the most commonly known chiropractic treatments is your standard adjustment.

Adjustments are the bread and butter of the chiropractic industry and are among the most common treatments sought whenever one is experiencing neck pain, back pain, injured ligaments, musculoskeletal issues, sprains, or whiplash. Another treatment avenue chiropractic offers include temperature therapy. In addition, chiropractic clinics will also offer massage therapy.

However, perhaps the most valuable chiropractic options are only available to those clinics that staff a medical doctor amongst their specialists.

What Can Chiropractors Do

This requirement is because non-surgical mechanical spinal decompression therapy requires a qualified specialist to perform. However, the progressive nature of this kind of chiropractic treatment comes at a heady cost. So, making sure you need it is crucial to ensure that you do not needlessly incur further medical expenses.

It is important to note that chiropractic treatment is sought for both serious and minor issues afflicting the spine. To that end, chiropractic care should probably not be sought out unless recommended by the physician examining you after the initial injury. Otherwise, the insurance adjuster for the defendant might attempt to delegitimize the treatment as non-essential.

You may be required to obtain x-rays, depending on the types of injuries. If you had an emergency room visit, this information can be obtained by your attorney from the doctor on your behalf.

Chiropractic care can be an excellent avenue for recovery following a severe injury. That alone has made it a common first stop following an injury and a standard treatment cited during personal injury claim negotiations.

What Can Physical Therapy Do For You?

Physical therapy is a term that you have undoubtedly heard a great deal about. It is a term freely thrown about for years for athletes, injury survivors, and general recovery. However, physical therapy covers a broader range of treatment options than you might have otherwise guessed.

Physical therapists can specialize in different injury types and tailor their programs accordingly. For example, physical therapists specialize in women’s health, neurology, orthopedics, sports injuries, and so much more. This range makes physical therapists a remarkable resource for recovering from injuries since you will almost always find one who specializes in your particular injury type.

What Can Physical Therapy Do

As for what to expect from your physical therapy appointment, that is something a little more subjective. The fact is, no set regimen works for everyone. The physician will guide each patient and the regimen you will be using for your specific injuries. However, physical therapy is an essential part of recovering from the strain of a traumatic injury and is hard to dispute.

However, like chiropractic care, it must come as a prescription from the doctor treating you for your injury or your primary care physician to be taken seriously. Independently seeking physical therapy without guidance can be a little more challenging to justify in the eyes of the defendant’s insurance negotiator.

Ultimately, your physical therapy regime will be determined by exactly where the injury is and how severe it is. Therefore, physical therapy is an equally valid and essential step in the recovery process following a significant injury. First, however, you must prove its validity to your case.

Proving your case brings us to the ultimate question of which one you should pursue.

Which Treatment Option is Better?

Chiropractic treatment or physical therapy? It is a valid question with an answer that you may have expected in the first place: both.

The reality is that it does not have to be one or the other, nor should it. Both chiropractic care and physical therapy play critical roles in recovering from the injuries you suffer from following an injury.

One choice is to use both because chiropractors and physical therapists share several similarities and several differences that make them equally important to your recovery.

Chiropractors and physical therapists alike are highly educated healthcare professionals that will use exercises and stretches as part of the recovery process, specialize in non-surgical treatment, and use options like heat therapy to promote healing. However, regardless of their similarities, the role of the two types of providers is different.

Treatment Option

According to chiropractors, the most crucial distinction is there to help you recover from the pain that is already there and correct the problematic part of your body. For example, suppose you have been in a car accident, a slip-and-fall accident, or any situation resulting in chronic pain and misalignment in your spine. In that case, they will use exercises and treatments to correct these misalignments and provide you with pain relief.

When you suffer an injury, the afflicted area is weakened. A physical therapist will employ exercises and treatments to help reinforce the area until it is back to approximately before the accident and prevent future damage. Meanwhile, physical therapists are there to aid in the post-recovery and strengthen the compromised parts of your body.

However, determining which of the two you want to pursue is moot unless you can prove that they were necessary. You might have noticed the reiteration of getting the green light from your physician before seeking treatment from a chiropractor or physical therapist. It’s a critical step because you must prove that your treatment was necessary is crucial for any personal injury claim—especially when dealing with treatments that are not generally respected as they should be.

Your treatment directly impacts how your case resolves; the only question is how that exactly works.

How Treatment Affects Claims

A personal injury claim is a common legal proceeding that often does not even require you to see the inside of a courtroom in most cases. However, the type of treatment you seek to recover from your injuries is an essential part of how the case breaks down.

The simple reality is that, when dealing with a personal injury claim, you are trying to earn compensation from the individual responsible for your pain, suffering, and sudden influx of medical costs. It is a reasonable expectation, especially since most insurance companies will try everything in their power to minimize the amount of money to be paid out in the settlement.

Seeking out the appropriate treatment is crucial to making it clear that the injury you sustained due to the defendant’s negligence was significant and that you needed medical attention. When recommended by the physician who examined you following the injury, both chiropractors and physical therapists are recognized as medical costs incurred due to this accident.

However, this is where things become a little trickier. Waiting too long to seek out treatment after it has been prescribed will significantly weaken the strength of your case and make your attorney’s job that much more complicated when negotiating a fair settlement. So, if you are told to see a chiropractor by your physician following the injury, make an appointment as soon as possible to ensure there is no delay to remove any reasonable doubt in the insurance negotiator’s mind.

Conversely, treating too frequently could make it seem as though you are overtreating, so do not seek any treatment beyond what is recommended unless you are still genuinely experiencing pain.

Treatment Affecting Your Injury Claim

A personal injury claim settlement is designed to compensate you for the costs of your medical treatment and allowances for damages above all else. Requiring both a chiropractor and physical therapist as needed increases the odds of a maximized settlement to pay for that care. The bills for both facilities will be factored into the negotiations. Your total medical costs serve as the starting point of all negotiations for a personal injury settlement and will have to be justified to the claims adjuster by your attorney.

Proving the necessity of medical treatment is not always an exact method, as some treatment avenues are taken at face value. In contrast, the others need to be proven due to preexisting conceptions. Unfortunately, chiropractic care and physical therapy are firmly in the latter camp.

Generally, your attorney will handle the particulars of proving the necessity of your treatment, but following the previous advice helps them do that successfully. Any minor detail that could draw the need for your care into question is something the adjuster will jump on to avoid paying out for the associated costs.

It becomes a more straightforward matter if you need continued treatment following the initial stages. Future medical costs are often factored into settlement agreements, and future costs for rehabilitation are no exception. For example, suppose you will need physical therapy or chiropractic care in the foreseeable future. In that case, your attorney will bring that to the adjuster’s attention as further evidence of its necessity.

How to Prove Necessity

Proving the necessity of physical therapy or chiropractic care is not a simple matter, but there is information your attorney will request from your physician to help. Specifically, copies of your medical records alongside your bills will serve as proof.

These documents will show what your physician recommended in rehabilitation and details of the extent of the damage. If you want to help solidify the validity of these treatments, an excellent way is to ask for copies of your updated records following your appointments.

Proving Necessity

By providing your attorney with copies of your records personally, you can make it a little easier for them to gather the information than it would otherwise be. They would be obligated to send paperwork such as medical authorizations to the provider and await their response, which could be longer than they would prefer.

So, consider requesting your records in person at your subsequent appointments. By cutting out the middleman, you expedite the resolution of your case.

Wrapping Up

Following a severe injury at the hands of another’s negligence, you will need to get checked out no matter what. However, determining the appropriate form of rehabilitation does not have to be a matter of either-or, as chiropractic treatment and physical therapists can be of equal value to your recovery.

Wrapping Up

Ultimately, there is only one best choice for the sake of your claim when it comes to choosing a physical therapist versus a chiropractor. The only best choice is for you to follow your doctor’s directions and treatment plan. That is how you will maximize your physical and financial recovery on your personal injury claim

However, there remains another concern when pursuing personal injury claims despite all this confusion, specifically your everyday living costs. Fortunately, there is an option if you have some trouble making ends meet after hiring your injury lawyer on a contingency fee basis. Legal funding services can help you pay your rent or utility bills in case you’re unable to work. The best part is that you are only obligated to repay that funding with your case proceeds if you settle your case or win your case.

For that, we at Express Legal Funding are here to help. So, if you need financial aid during your legal battle, you can contact us anytime for a free consultation to learn more about legal funding and if it’s the right choice for you.

Author profile
Strategy Director at

Aaron R. Winston has more than ten years of experience in the consumer finance industry. Most of which was as a consultant to a financial advisory firm, managing $400+ million USD in client wealth. As Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding, he has devoted thousands of hours advocating for the consumer. He has become a leading expert in writing about pre-settlement funding. His work has been granted copyright protection by the United States Copyright Office.

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