An Overview of the Different Health Care Providers:
A Doctor of Chiropractic versus a Medical Doctor and Physiotherapist
Both a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) and a Medical Doctor (MD) are licensed to assess patients and diagnose health issues. Both DC’s and MD’s then will either treat the problem you have or they will refer you to the appropriate health care provider if they are unable to treat your condition. They both are interns in their last year of school. The other health care providers discussed in this newsletter are not able to diagnose your health issue and that would be the reason you require a referral to see them.
A MD studies the way in which your body functions and spends extensive hours on studying the medications that they prescribe. They spend less time on the anatomy of the body, the nervous system, nutrition and how the different pathways of the body work. They deal with your body when it is diseased and a DC deals with making your body healthy.
A DC spends time in their studies on medications and their interactions, but less than an MD would. A DC spends extensive hours on anatomy, the nervous system, the skeletal system and how it functions. They also study extensively, nutrition and how different vitamins and minerals may aid your body to function in a more optimal manner. A DC does not prescribe medications but instead makes use of the body’s biochemical pathways to allow it to work properly. They do this by advising a patient on the correct supplements. A DC works on preventing health issues and an MD is there for a patient when they have a health issue. For instance, an MD waits until you have arthritis and loss of movement and pain associated with it to treat the issue with a pain killer. A DC advises a patient on lifestyle changes, exercises, stretches, strengthening, and supplements that allow the process of arthritis to be reduced or not happen at all. A DC works on the whole body’s muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems and as well guides a patient on proper nutrition and lifestyle.
A DC works close at hand with your MD and a PT.
A Physiotherapist (PT) is not able to diagnosis your condition, you have to have a diagnosis from either a DC or an MD to be able to see a physiotherapist. A PT does not normally deal with the whole body but rather with one issue at a time. If you have a foot problem they treat this separately from your hip issue. A PT deals more with the muscle system and will make use of machines, exercise equipment, ice, and heat to aid you in your recovery. They deal a lot with acute issues and after the pain is gone. They do not work through to proper function and resolving any scar tissue, imbalances, joint or nerve issues you have. Many people see a PT following orthopedic surgery, following a fracture or joint replacement.
Massage therapy, Osteopathy, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Dietician, Nutritionist and Occupational Therapist and Osteopathy (OP)
Massage therapy (MT)
A MT studies the muscle system extensively and as well has a knowledge base for the nerves and skeletal system. They take less training for this than a DC does. Massage therapy consists primarily of hands-on treatment of the soft tissues of the body, specifically, the muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints for the purpose of optimizing health.
MT’s work close in hand with DC’s and PT’s to aid in restoring body function.
Dieitican’s are Nutrition specialists who counsel and support clients to make changes in their eating habits to promote health and prevent chronic illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Some work in environments like hospitals and schools, supervising large-scale food production and ensuring that everyone gets the foods that they need to do well. In other cases, a dietitian may work one-on-one with clients.
A nutritionist is someone who specializes in the study of nutrition, including nutritional deficiencies, sources of nutrition, and nutritional challenges that may face individuals or communities.. Some work directly on the study of nutrients and food, in labs and through field work. Others work closely with patients.
It is guided by principles of relating to the patient as a whole. The body is a self-regulating, functional unit in which function and structure are interrelated, and healthy tissues require proper circulation of all body fluids. Skilled palpation and a detailed knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics guide the osteopath to assess and restore balance within and between all the systems of the body; musculoskeletal,cardiovascular, neurological, cranial and visceral. In health, the body seeks to maintain a balance within and between these systems. The OP uses a wide array of manual approaches to reduce and resolve strains, stress and dysfunction in all areas of the body. The goal is to remove restrictions to vascular, neural and biomechanical mechanisms and ultimately support the natural healing mechanism by promoting auto-regulation.
Occupational therapy is the art and science of enabling engagement in everyday living, through occupation; of enabling people to perform the occupations that foster health and well-being; and of enabling a just and inclusive society so that all people may participate to their potential in the daily occupations of life. The process involves assessment, intervention and evaluation of the client related to occupational performance in self-care, work, study, volunteerism and leisure.
Naturopaths (ND) and Homeopaths (HO)
Naturopathic medicine is a primary health care profession that focuses on prevention and uses natural methods to promote healing. By combining old philosophies of medicine with new diagnostic tools, naturopathic medicine offers additional options to the modern health care system.
NDs are general practitioners of natural health care who embrace a wide array of non-invasive techniques and therapies to create a preventive, restorative and individualized approach to health care. Some of these approaches are as basic as nutritional counseling or stress reduction, while others are more firmly planted in alternative medicine, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Botanical Medicine, and Homeopathy.
Homeopathy (HO) is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing. Based on specific symptoms they will match the most appropriate medicine to each patient. HO is based on the principle that you can treat ‘like with like’, that is, a substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms. For example, drinking too much coffee can cause sleeplessness and agitation, so according to this principle, when made into a homeopathic medicine, it could be used to treat people with these symptoms.