DC PT Respecting One Another

Posted On: October 15, 2014

I am Dr. David A. Johnson and I am licensed as both a chiropractic physician and as a physical therapist in Illinois. I own and Direct North Shore Spinal & Sports Rehabilitation located in both Highland Park and Lake Bluff.

On September 18, 2014 I had the great pleasure to lecture to the Northern District of the Illinois Chiropractic Society.  My topic was to talk about the professions of chiropractic and physical therapy. Being licensed as both I have a unique perspective on  the two professions which I thought was important to share with the chiropractic profession. The title of my lecture was: Chiropractic and Physical Therapy: Respecting the Differences and Embracing the Similarities.

The objective of this lecture was to educate both the professions of chiropractic and physical therapy on one another’s roles in practice to try and foster a greater understanding and cooperation between the two professions.

The lecture was well attended by about 12-15 people most of whom which were practicing chiropractors or chiropractic students. To my great happiness there was a single physical therapy student who attended. I made sure to go out of my way to make her feel comfortable as I have certainly been in the revers role of being the only chiropractor at many a physical therapy lecture.

There truly are a lot of similarities between the professions. The education is very similar with regards to the basic sciences. The clinical training is comparable though chiropractors are in my opinion better trained in spinal manipulation and physical diagnosis. Physical therapists are certainly better trained in gait and transfer training. Both have similar training in modalities like ultrasound and electric stimulation. Though chiropractors are trained in the delivery of therapeutic exercises, I believe it is fair to say physical therapists are better trained in this area. Chiropractic physicians are trained to order and interpret lab work and imaging. Physical therapists have some exposure to x-rays they do not have the depth of training that chiropractors have received in radiology.

The difference is that chiropractic physicians are autonomous practitioners that often serve as the primary care provider for a patient. Physical therapist are striving to become this but most truly practice as secondary providers in a wide range of settings. These settings include but are not limited to orthopedics, neurologic rehabilitation, acute hospital care and pediatrics.

One of the biggest differences is that chiropractic is based on the core philosophy that all human beings are endowed with an innate intelligence to heel themselves by a universal intelligence.  This is a bold statement and is not often articulated in the public by chiropractic physicians for fear of scorn. It however was the founding philosophy of the profession.

My hope is that the to professions learn to cooperate together for the betterment of the patients we serve. We certainly have found this balance at North Shore Spinal & Sports Rehabilitation and our patients have benefitted as the result.

To learn more about our practice visit us at www.northshorerehab.com. To schedule an appointment, please call our Lake Forest, Lake Bluff office at 847.295.0920, or our Highland Park office at 847.432.4077. 

You may also use our online Request an Appointment form.

What our patients are saying

quotes icon

our Health Tips Follow us for the latest information on
pain relief & rehabilitation

blog image
February 15, 2020

Cervical Disc Herniation

Imagine waking up with terrible neck pain which radiates down to the arm. The hand may tingle and you notice your arm isn’t as strong doing eve...
Continue Reading

blog image
February 14, 2020

Lumbar Disc Herniation

The first lumbar disc herniation I helped rehabilitate was back in 1988. The patient was an active aerobic dance instructor who came into me distraug...
Continue Reading

blog image
February 12, 2020


Sciatica sounds like something out of a Dicken’s novel. The sentence would be: Old Fezziwig suffered from occasional bouts of Sciatica. The nam...
Continue Reading