Chiropractor vs Physiotherapist vs Massage Therapist

Meaghan Pelley Uncategorised 0 Comments

One of the questions we get asked the most by our patients is “what is the difference between chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists?”

The most important thing to understand is that there is no right or wrong practitioner, while they all treat in slightly different ways, they treat many of the same conditions and their treatments work best when combined with that of other therapists. Many patients are afraid to try different types of therapy because of lack of knowledge on what the practitioner does or because of a bad experience, like any profession, there are good and bad therapists so it is important to find one you are comfortable with and are happy with the care they provide, info they give and how you feel in the days following treatment.

So what are the main differences between practitioners?


Physiotherapy evolved out of out of a combination of massage, manual therapy,  and rehabilitative exercises – this method of treatment is still used by physiotherapists today in conjunction with modalities; modalities assist in the healing process of the body. The most common modalities are as follows:

Ice- cold temperature causes vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in the area decreasing inflammation causing a decrease in pain and swelling.

Heat- causes vasodilatation of the blood vessels which increases circulation to the area, eliminating muscle spasms and joint stiffness.

Interferential current (IFC)-  Electrodes are placed on your skin transmitting electrical impulses through your skin which stimulates underlying tissue and nerves which activates healing properties.  IFC has been proven to stimulate endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. This can help to create a self-healing process without the need to for medications. This form of therapy is also extremely useful in reducing pain, inflammation, curing swelling, and spasms.

Ultrasound– delivers sound waves into the body to provide a deep heat. This heat brings blood flow to the area to stimulate healing. In the early stages of injury it can be used to decreased inflammation in a joint, muscle or ligament. In later stages it can be used to heat an area for mobilization or to relax muscles, decreasing pain.

Taping- Used to support a joint or to provide reminders about our posture or to wake up muscles that are lazy or to inhibit muscles that are overactive. Taping also serves as a means of pain control by reminding us to straighten our posture.


Chiropractic has evolved from the use of spinal manipulations to treat pain and dysfunction. However, as this therapy as evolved, they now used a combination of adjustment, muscle and joint mobilization and active muscle release therapy to help treat many different conditions. Chiropractors treat problems related to the nervous system, musculoskeletal system, and the impact that those problems can have on your overall health. They aim to train muscles to move in the correct anatomical way to help reduce pain and discomfort. They also use some of the same modalities as physiotherapists such as heat, ice and IFC.

Massage therapists 

Massage therapists use touch to manipulate the soft-tissue muscles of the body. They can treat many conditions by decompressing tired and overworked muscles, reducing stress, rehabilitating sports injuries, improving circulation and improve general wellness of their clients. They also use heat to help reduce muscle spasms and help promote healing.

Next time you’re confused about which therapist to see, try a little of everything! Variety is the spice of life and these therapists go hand in hand to help you make a full recovery and get you feeling your best!

We have excellent expert therapists that are great at what they do! We would love to help you achieve optimal health and well being through the use of our experienced staff. Call us at 905-488-1223 to book your first appointment! Mention this blog post and receive 20% off your first visit!

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Proactive Health Group offers: Physiotherapy, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic Care and Custom Orthotics and much more!



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