Is Massage Therapy Recommended by Chiropractors?
It seems that most people think that massage therapy and chiropractic services might be on opposite sides or somehow rivals. The truth is actually that they go hand in hand. Both have great benefits.
So, do chiropractors recommend massage therapy? Yes! Many chiropractors believe that massage therapy can enhance the benefits of chiropractic care by relaxing the muscles throughout the body. Some chiropractors even employ a licensed massage therapist as part of their staff!
Keep reading to learn more about how chiropractic care and massage therapy can be mutually beneficial.
What is Chiropractic Care?
The word “chiropractic” is derived from Greek words that mean “hand” (cheir) and “doing or practicing” (practica). Today, chiropractors are physicians who diagnose, treat, prevent illness and injury of the neuromusculoskeletal system through natural therapeutic techniques.
Chiropractic treatment focuses on removing subluxations or misalignments of the spine which affect nerve function throughout the body.
Chiropractic Care Growing in Popularity
According to data published by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, nearly one-third of Americans choose chiropractic care every year.
By age 21, an estimated 10 percent of children have experienced a neck or back problem serious enough to cause them to seek professional help for their condition. The top three reasons adults seek chiropractic care are neck pain, back pain, and headaches (which often stem from neck or head problems).
A growing number of people are turning to alternative therapies like chiropractic care instead of drugs alone for relief from migraines, allergies, digestive disorders, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Chiropractors help pregnant women with musculoskeletal problems related to pregnancy, including back pain and pelvic instability.
During pregnancy, ligaments in the pelvis become laxer to prepare for childbirth. This situation can also lead to low back pain as the weight of the baby pulls on muscles supporting the spine.
Manipulation has been shown to relieve some of this stress however it is recommended that you consult your doctor before undergoing chiropractic treatment during pregnancy since it may not be suitable for all conditions.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
Many people have heard about how massage therapy can reduce stress, ease muscle tension and even help a person feel better emotionally. But did you know that medical research is now showing that massage therapy can also help boost immunity, reduce pain and muscle tension?
Many hospital patients throughout the country are currently receiving massage therapy in conjunction with standard medical care. Hospitals are finding that massage increases patient comfort while decreasing anxiety and depression which in turn speeds the healing process.
Combining Massage Therapy & Chiropractic Care
A surprising fact: Did you know that a majority of people who go to chiropractors also see a massage therapist?
As people continue to seek out natural, drug-free approaches to wellness, more chiropractors and massage therapists are participating as members of a patient’s health care team. In some states, both professions have been combined into one licensing designation called “chiropractic medicine”.
Today, many chiropractors offer massage therapy as part of their treatment plans for health problems such as headaches or back pain. Imagine the great benefits of getting adjusted and then getting a massage after.
Chiropractic Care With Massage Therapy
Chiropractic treatment does not replace the benefits of massage therapy or other forms of bodywork. However, a recent study found that a single session of Swedish massage is effective at decreasing pain and improving function in people with chronic neck pain.
It is also believed that a 30-minute deep tissue sports massage decreased sarcomeres (contractile units) per second in skeletal muscle, indicating decreases in tension and tone, as well as relief from delayed onset muscle soreness after intense exercise.
In addition to targeting the soft tissues that may refer pain into the back and extremities, therapists can also assist patients in numerous ways including:
- educating them on proper ergonomics and body mechanics
- strengthening the muscles that support the spine
- developing core stability to help coordinate motor control across the back and abdomen
- practicing good posture while standing or sitting to minimize harmful stresses on the muscles and ligaments of the neck and low back
- maintaining a healthy weight
- avoiding smoking
- treating anxiety disorder, if present
- stoping any activities that may be irritating their conditions such as vitamin deficiencies/over-supplementation
- evaluating for food sensitivities including gluten sensitivity
- addressing stress management issues such as sleep disturbances and experiences of trauma or abuse
At Home Wellness Practices
Therapists should also encourage patients to perform self-help techniques at home such as gentle neck stretching exercises, thoracic spine mobilization, herniated disc exercises, and gentle range of motion activities.
They should also discuss recommendations for a balanced approach to exercise that includes flexibility training, low-impact aerobic conditioning, and strength-building activities. Chiropractors should be ready to work with massage therapists to create a safe treatment plan for patients who may benefit from the bodywork.
And your chiropractor will agree. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t differences that we should pay attention to when it comes to both.
Things To Note About Chiropractor and Massage Therapy
Chiropractic is a hands-on, natural health care profession that uses spinal adjustments and manipulations with the goal of improving overall health and well-being.
A client can benefit from multiple techniques and methods used by different chiropractors. Some methods are gentle while others may be more rigorous depending on the patient’s specific needs.
Massage therapy is another popular hands-on approach to bettering wellness for many patients suffering from pain or injury. However, using massage as an essential wellness regimen does not always meet insurance company requirements for medical necessity.
Chiropractors are primary care physicians for the musculoskeletal system and are qualified to make diagnoses of both musculoskeletal conditions and general health problems which can be treated with chiropractic spinal adjustments.
Massage therapists provide relief to patients through touch, but few have any formal training or certification requirements in anatomy or physiology needed to diagnose issues based on physical exams. They may also lack knowledge of what types of questions should be asked before providing a massage therapy session.
This leaves their clients vulnerable to injuries without full awareness that there may be cause for concern! Chiropractors help ensure your overall wellness is taken into account when treatment decisions are made based on a thorough diagnosis.
Chiropractors can provide natural relief for several conditions that may need to be addressed along with massage therapy.
Addressing Low Back Pain
This is just one area where chiropractic care can be very effective. Chiropractic care doctors receive extensive training in diagnosing and treating low back pain.
There are quite a few studies that suggest chiropractic care for lower back pain is more effective than conventional medical diagnosis and treatments! Chiropractors utilize gentle spinal adjustments to ensure the ease of pressure on your spinal cord nerves helping you find relief from discomfort.
Addressing Neck Pain
Chronic neck pain affects millions of people at some point in their lives – both men and women – with headaches being the most common symptom associated with this condition per research!
More specifically, neck pain is characterized by a dull, aching, or sharp discomfort. Neck manipulation (spinal adjustment) can help reduce neck stiffness and increase mobility for patients suffering from this condition.
While chiropractic care cannot cure the underlying conditions associated with headaches like migraines and sinus infections, it can provide relief through non-invasive treatments such as spinal adjustments and manipulations that realign the spine and joint function.
This promotes improved nervous system function! After all, many headache sufferers report having their worst attacks after prolonged periods of sitting hunched over – particularly at computer workstations where poor ergonomics are abundant.
Chiropractic adjustments can restore proper alignment to upper back and neck structures to reduce headache pain.
Addressing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Repetitive use of hands and overuse of the wrist are common in some professions such as those that require typing or computer work. The carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway at the base of the hand made up of bone and ligament, can become irritated when swelling occurs in this area.
Chiropractic spinal adjustments help to reduce inflammation in this area so discomfort associated with carpal tunnel syndrome can be relieved.
But, remember that there is a place and need for both. Massage therapy services are much broader than chiropractic care and do effectively address tension in muscles by using different modalities. Some methods include acupressure, Swedish massage, shiatsu massage, aromatherapy among many others!
However, because there’s not always scientific evidence to support the choice of massage therapy over traditional treatments, you should consult with your chiropractor before making any decision or appointments so that you can ensure your body is getting the best service that it needs.