Since both orthopedic doctors and chiropractors relieve the discomfort caused by musculoskeletal system issues, most people assume that both are the same. Even though orthopedics and chiropractic share strikingly overlapping characteristics, there is much difference between both disciplines regarding the education, specialties, and scope of practice.
If you are also one of those who think chiropractors and orthopedists are the same, the following information will provide you with insights into the differences between both disciplines to make an informed decision about your musculoskeletal problem.
Orthopedic Doctors: What Are They?
An orthopedic doctor is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing a full spectrum of conditions and injuries affecting bones, joints, muscles, and other soft tissues.
Since orthopedics is a field of immense breadth and variety, an orthopedic doctor often specializes in specific treatment areas. For instance, an orthopedist may subspecialize in:
- sports medicine to provide care for weekend warriors, athletes, or physically active people
- joint replacement to care for patients with damaged or worn-out joints
- upper extremity to care for patients who sustained injuries or conditions related to hands, arms, and shoulder.
What Do They Treat?
Some of the most common conditions orthopedic doctors can treat are:
- All types of fractures, whether simple or complex
- Accident and workplace injuries
- Back pain, whether due to spine problems, such as herniated disc and degenerative disc disease, or muscle and tendon strain.
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Congenital deformities like scoliosis and clubfoot
- Diabetic foot problems
- Foot deformities and injuries like plantar fasciitis, bunions, and hammertoe
- Meniscus tear
- An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear
An orthopedic doctor offers both surgical and nonsurgical treatment of these musculoskeletal conditions. After diagnosing your problem, typically, an orthopedic doctor uses a nonsurgical approach, which may consist of medications, bracing and casting, steroid injection, stem cell therapy, PRP therapy, and physical therapy. However, when nonsurgical approaches fail to provide you adequate relief, an orthopedist will check your eligibility for surgery.
The surgical procedure they may perform include:
- Arthroscopy (minimally invasive surgical procedure)
- Joint replacement
They also provide rehabilitation plans by collaborating with physical therapists to provide you relief.
Chiropractors: What Are They?
A chiropractor holds a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C) degree, not a Doctor of Medicine (M.D) degree. While they also receive advanced training in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, they can’t treat complex problems or injuries.
What Do They Do?
The primary focus of a chiropractor is on the spine and other body parts’ alignment. They receive training in various techniques to manage pain and leverage the body’s healing ability.
- Creates exercise programs
- Mkae manual adjustment of the spine
- Order diagnostic tests (laboratory tests and imaging tests)
- Use adjunctive procedures (manual soft tissue therapy, spinal traction, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), and more)
Common conditions a chiropractor can treat include:
- Myofascial pain
- Migraines and cervicogenic headaches (originate from the back of the head)
- Back pain
Orthopedic Doctor Near Me in Austin, TX
At All-Star Orthopedics of Austin, our orthopedic surgeons take pride in their compassionate approach, clinical acumen, and expertise in delivering exceptional treatment outcomes. They are committed to providing tailor-made, evidence-based, and compassionate care for all your musculoskeletal conditions and injuries.