Massage or Other Therapy – How To Choose

Our human body is a strong and resilient machine, which when taken care of can last for over 9 decades of life.  When the machine breaks down though, it hurts. A massage choice can be an important option for care.
When pain happens, there are so many options available today for treatment.  Some of the common options you have heard of are physical therapy, physical medicine, medication, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic and surgery .  If you are looking for the most noninvasive and natural approach to treatment and recovery, then massage or chiropractic care can be a great starting point.  But which to choose?

Mechanical Muscular or Joint Pain

Pain which involves the joint structures of your body and your soft tissue including your muscles, tendons and ligaments is by far the most common reason for why people have pain. Pain can happen quickly from athletic injuries or car accidents, or pain can develop slowly from postural stress at the office or repetitive motions at work.
Our office offers both massage therapy and chiropractic care, and to those people who have never experienced either one, there’s often a dilemma faced to determine where to start or which to choose.  Massage can of course be all about a relaxation experience, and our therapist is an excellent resource for patients or clients who just need help to unwind.
In the context of this article, I’m focusing on choosing a massage or chiropractic option to treat pain. Both methods share a similar philosophy – treatment that is drug-free as well as hands on. Things to consider when deciding your course of treatment include the severity of the pain, your history of injury, and of course your financial or insurance options.

Massage as Therapy

Therapy targets issues that are muscular in nature. Muscle spasms and overworked areas of tension can benefit as well as pulled or strained muscles. Massage therapy isn’t just a pampering, luxury treatment. It has legitimate restorative properties which are effective in aiding in pain management and recovery.
Clinical therapeutic massage can also affect the nervous system through the manipulation of soft tissue. The top layers of muscles benefit directly from applied massage because massage encourages the free flow of fluids.
Unlike chiropractors, massage therapists are not licensed to diagnose or treat conditions.  Therapists are not licensed to manipulate or adjust the spine or other joints, nor can they prescribe medication. Massage therapists can, however, suggest holistic remedies in conjunction with massage therapy. There are many massage techniques used in healing including Swedish, deep-tissue, and trigger point therapy. Massage therapy boasts benefits like:
Increased Blood Flow
Increased Range of Motion
Reduced Anxiety
Aiding in the Recovery of Athletes – Post Event
Helping Expectant Mothers

When You Need a Chiropractor

Chiropractic care specifically addresses the disorders of both the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Chiropractors are doctors who are licensed and trained to diagnose their patients just like your medical doctor.  The focus of treatment for the majority of chiropractors is mechanical joint pain, but your chiropractor is trained to recognize pain which can source from other causes which require referral to a medical doctor.
All chiropractors should perform an examination and differential diagnosis which may include special studies like x-rays.  Chiropractic care focuses on the relationships of the spine and joints. Chiropractors will recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises and can even recommend specific units of massage (performed by our therapist) in their course of treatment.  This type of care can be a service which will be covered by your insurance. A spinal manipulation or adjustment is the most common procedure employed to treat issues like back pain or neck pain. Other health challenges can be treated effectively with chiropractic care including:
Non Spine Joint pain
Posture and Range of Motion Loss

Massage and Chiropractic in Harmony

Perhaps the choice is not choosing between one or the other therapy, but a balance of the two to help chronic pain. Massage therapy can aid in chiropractic care, acting like a “warm-up” for the body prior to the adjustment. Adjustments last longer when muscle tension is released – tight muscles pull joints out of alignment, and soft tissue therapy would address that issue directly. In turn, chiropractic care addresses misalignment which gives immediate relief to the soft tissue which massage therapy specifically prioritizes. Soft tissue heals quicker once the joints have been restored to proper position.
Appreciating the process of restoring and maintaining musculoskeletal health is fundamental. The more chronic your problem, the more time it can take to resolve. Only so much can be achieved in a single appointment.
If you are dealing with chronic challenges, a specific care plan can detail the commitment needed for optimal health.  A care plan which outlines treatment goals and objectives is also the type of care which we will submit for participation with your insurance.
Whatever your goals, our office will help you achieve your best result.
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