Chiropractor or Acupuncture: How Do They Differ?

With the stress level of modern everyday life, almost everyone seems to suffer from some measure of muscle pain – be it the back, neck, or other areas. In many cases, these lead to tension headaches and a persistent feeling of fatigue and ill-being, something that truly diminishes our quality of life.

While Western medicine often favors invasive procedures, or some form of physical therapy, a very high segment of the population increasingly takes comfort in certain concepts established over the evolution of humankind, especially from the Eastern schools of medicine and philosophy. Enter chiropractic medicine and acupuncture.

In this article, we will discuss some key similarities and differences among these practices that are grounded in holistic medicine but can grant enormous relief to patients who work with skilled practitioners and healers in these fields. So, the key question becomes:

Chiropractor or Acupuncture: How do they differ?

What do Chiropractors and Acupuncturists Specialize In?

There are persistent areas of pain that patients often have to deal with, such as pains along the neck and back. Others struggle with pain from pinched nerves.

While certain symptoms and manifestations can be alleviated through stretching, exercise, and massage therapy, there are many cases where more proactive measures are called for.

Acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments are treatments that rely on human knowledge gleaned over the millennia, targeting the neuromusculoskeletal system as a point of contact, but with the broader aim of treating problems all over the body.

Two major reasons why people opt for chiropractic and acupuncture treatments include:

  1. With chronic pain, your entire body is crying out for help. Besides localized pain, there is a continuous feedback loop to the brain, which compounds the lack of physical agility with the continued recognition of discomfort and acute pain by our central nervous system – this creates a vicious cycle of fatigue and inaction, leading to more fatigue, that must be broken.
  2. As we discuss later, the remedies provided by Western medicine do not always suffice, especially when they involve invasive surgical solutions.

Your Life Can Be Remarkably Different

Twin Waves Wellness Team

While answering the question regarding chiropractor or acupuncture: how do they differ? It is important to understand how both practices can improve the quality of life tremendously.

For example, visiting a holistic chiropractor in San Diego County can change your life far beyond the temporary reduction in pain, as we discuss here:


The same can be said of visiting skilled acupuncturists. Believe in the treatment you are receiving and focus on promoting both physical and mental well-being.

In general, both acupuncturists and chiropractors target joints, muscles, connective tissues, bones, and cartilage, but in slightly different ways, as we will discuss below.

Chiropractor or Acupuncture: How They Differ

Twin Waves Wellness Team

While both these medical practices focus on alleviating short- and long-term pain through time-tested techniques, there are some specific elements that help answer the question – chiropractor or acupuncture: how do they differ?

  • Chiropractors work by pressing down (with various levels of intensity) on the body parts where the main areas of pain originate, with attention also paid to surrounding areas of the body and the musculoskeletal system. As an example, if a chiropractor is working on the points where the ribs join the spinal column, they will focus on the upper and lower back where pains are sure to radiate.
  • By contrast, acupuncturists will insert tiny needles into specific points across your body where the muscles and tissues that connect the various points in your body are present. As such, there is no direct pressure that is being applied in the course of the treatment.

We hope that the above points help you answer the central question (Chiropractor or Acupuncture: How Do They Differ?) but help you go beyond to choose the right solution for you.

Risk vs. Reward

Twin Waves Wellness Team

There are a few risks (real or perceived), but many rewards based on evidence as we answer the question of Chiropractor or Acupuncture: How Do They Differ?

Are There Risks Involved?

As with any treatment on a patient who is not feeling 100%, there may be some risks involved.

  • With chiropractic adjustments, things in the body can shift and move. Energy kicks off into motion throughout a practice member’s body. As parts of the body become more online again, it is possible to feel small bits of pain here and there.
  • Acupuncture does not involve such direct pain, but patients may not like needles being inserted at specific junctures and as such may have an adverse reaction.

So Why Do It?

A holistic solution, such as chiropractic treatment, can have many benefits above and beyond the immediate goal of reducing localized pain, and often even pain management for the whole body. For example, the overall state of well-being, from getting a good night’s sleep to leading a long and fruitful life could be at stake.

Reputed sources in the industry, such as the US National Library of Medicine (under the auspices of the National Institute of Health), have determined through research that chiropractic care was deemed to be at least as effective as routine medical care in addressing lower back pain and reducing disabilities related to the same. Additionally, more chiropractic care patients perceived their treatment to be successful than patients receiving medical treatments.

In recent years, the mounting evidence in support of holistic medicine involving chiropractic and acupuncture solutions has been growing exponentially.

How are These Treatments Regarded within Western and Eastern Medicine?

Twin Waves Wellness Team

Eastern medicine has long acknowledged the virtues of practitioners understanding and utilizing the nodes and alleyways of the body. The ebb and flow of fluids, impulses, and energy gave rise to the practices of both chiropractic and acupuncture treatments.

Western medicine does offer a range of solutions, from physical therapy to invasive procedures such as surgery. Patients are not always comforted by these options, especially when the pain is chronic and the solution is drastic, involving invasive surgery where there are as many chances of things going wrong as there are of improvement.

There has been a sea change of opinions about chiropractic medicine based on evidence in recent years. In particular, we can rely on direct patient feedback, the gold standard for deciding whether “claims” made about any particular treatment regimen are legit when gauging the effectiveness of treatments.

The Final Verdict

We have addressed the core question of Chiropractor or Acupuncture: How Do They Differ?

However, it’s important to note that chiropractic and acupuncture practices are here to stay. Both are preferred by many among the hundreds of millions who suffer from chronic neck, back, and other pains.

Whether you prefer one or the other may boil down to your tolerance for pressure vs. needles, but truth be told, both treatments will produce substantial benefits without having to resort to invasive procedures.

Give us a call to learn more about the benefits of chiropractic care.

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