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Journey of a DPT Student

Interdisciplinary Exposure for PT Students

Published June 18, 2012 4:32 PM by Lauren Rosso

Yesterday, I had an hour-long conversation with my rugby coach about what he, as a chiropractor, does with his patients. I have never been to a chiropractor and therefore know very little about their scope of practice. I have to say that I was surprised by the many similarities between some of his treatment techniques and those that we have learned along the way. We talked a lot about the spine, but also about how he treats the shoulder and hip. I'm not sure if he is an atypical chiropractor, but his approach was almost exactly the same as what I have seen on my clinical rotations.

The conversation made me think that there would probably be some value in learning what other clinicians are doing in more detail. Even after such a simple discussion, I feel much more aware of what to tell a patient if he asks about seeing a different clinician. At the very least, I have a better idea of what type of care a patient has already received if he comes in and tells me he's been seeing a chiropractor. I've started to make a mental list of some other clinicians I would like to learn more about and plan to take any opportunity I can to talk to them and see what they have to say about their treatment philosophies.

I don't know if it's allowed, but I'm going to look into shadowing my coach. I'm sure I'll find some techniques and concepts that are very different from what we learn in PT school, but I'd prefer to be aware of them rather than just making assumptions. Our two fields are very closely linked and I think all students would benefit greatly by having a better understanding of the similarities and differences.


During my last clinical rotation in Austin, Texas, I attended a CrossFit competition at the end of my first week.  I was surprised to find that my CI, who was competing in the event, encouraged me to go to the tent where a couple of chiropractors were giving demonstrations and passing out samples of RockTape, etc.  The chiropractors in this particular group worked very well with the PT clinic at which I was working.  As the previous comment states, this chiropractic group would pass along patients if they felt PT would be a better fit for their needs.  There were certainly other chiropractors with which the clinic did not have quite as cordial a relationship, but any good feeling between these two disciplines was surprising to me based on the animosity I've witnessed coming from both the PT and the chiropractic camps.  Based on ill feelings that were expressed during my evolution as a PT, some of which came from my own professors, I am not sure how to feel about this particular issue. However, due to my recent experience, my learned bias has been challenged and I am ready to engage in a cooperative strategy.  I suppose there is room for both of us in the world of healthcare.

Katy Bales April 3, 2013 10:32 PM
Greenville NC

When I was in outpatient we worked fairly close with a Chiro guy and he referred patients to us if he couldn't fix them.  The exchange was excellent with no animosity between the professions like it should be in health care.

Jason Marketti June 19, 2012 7:16 PM

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