Chiropractic adjustment and massage therapy are both useful for decreasing pain, stiffness, and stress. When used together, patients can see a faster improvement of symptoms. Here’s what you should know about these two treatments and how they can work together to reduce your pain.
What is the Difference Between Spinal Adjustment and Massage?
Both of these treatments are performed by trained professionals using their hands and, occasionally, other tools. Licensed chiropractors perform spinal adjustments. An adjustment aims to correct misalignment in the bones of the spine (known as vertebrae). Chiropractors call these misalignments subluxations.
Since your spinal cord runs through your vertebrae, problems affecting the bones can also affect your nervous system. People with a subluxation may experience back or neck pain, sometimes with tingling, burning, or numbness in their extremities. Other symptoms such as digestive complaints can be caused or worsened by nerves that a subluxation has impaired. Receiving spinal adjustments once a month or so can help prevent back problems and maintain overall health.
Licensed massage therapists perform massage. They use a variety of techniques to relax muscles and increase circulation. Massage can help with chronic pain and even improve anxiety and depression symptoms.
Several massage techniques can be tailored to a patient’s unique needs. A deep tissue massage focuses on trigger points or knots in the muscles. It can be uncomfortable to receive but leads to pain relief afterward. Swedish massage is the most common type of massage received in the U.S. It’s a comfortable, relaxing massage that reduces muscle tension stress.
During a spinal adjustment, the patient remains fully clothed. During a massage, the patient is naked and covered with a sheet. The massage therapist should always make sure you are covered and that you feel comfortable.
What Conditions Does Chiropractic Adjustment Treat?
Spinal adjustment relieves pain caused by certain back and neck injuries, including whiplash and low back pain. It improves range of motion and can treat chronic concerns like migraines and tension headaches. Sports teams often hire chiropractors for their athletes to improve their range of motion and prevent injuries. Everyone can reap these benefits by making spinal adjustment part of their preventative care routine.
What Conditions Does Massage Therapy Treat?
Massage can be used to reduce inflammation, pain, and stiffness in soft tissue and around joints. It also has psychological benefits, especially for people dealing with anxiety, depression, or chronic pain. Scientists believe that massage helps the body release feel-good chemicals like serotonin and endorphins that fight pain and stress.
Like spinal adjustment, a monthly massage is a wonderful preventative treatment. Since stress has been implicated in many medical conditions, including heart disease, activities that lower stress benefit overall health. Massages can also help prevent injuries since relaxed muscles are less likely to get pulled or strained.
Why Adjustment and Massage are Better Together
Adjustment and massage make great treatment partners for four reasons:
They Stop the Vicious Cycle of Pain and Injury: Spinal and joint adjustments correct the underlying cause of dysfunction and pain. A spinal subluxation or joint problem can also cause soft tissue pain, including trigger points or knots. Massage therapy can treat these issues so that all causes of a patient’s pain are addressed. Conversely, spinal subluxations are sometimes caused by chronically tight, shortened muscles that pull joints out of alignment. Massage helps to relax and elongate muscles, thus preventing some subluxations.
They Work as a Team Against Inflammation: In addition to working out trigger points and relaxing tense muscles, massage can also decrease inflammation. Sometimes if a patient is too inflamed, chiropractic adjustment won’t be as effective. Addressing the inflammation first will clear the way for adjustment.
Massage Reduces Swelling: Arthritic joints may benefit more from massage than from adjustment. When an arthritic joint becomes swollen, the swelling can cause more pain than the arthritic joint itself. Massage can assist in draining this swelling and improve circulation around the joint. Often, once the swelling decreases, the patient experiences a significant pain reduction.
Massage Increases Circulation: The structures in the spine are often slow to heal because they don’t receive robust circulation. Massage increases blood and lymph circulation, both of which are essential to the healing process. Patients receiving spinal adjustments for an injury may heal faster when they add massage to their treatment plan.
Does it Matter Where I Go For a Massage?
Most day spas offer massages that are meant to be relaxing. Their therapists may or may not be trained to deal with specific injuries or conditions. When you receive a message at a chiropractic clinic, the massage therapist will address specific needs related to your injury.
Seeing a therapist that practices alongside your chiropractor is also beneficial for other reasons. Your chiropractor can communicate your needs to the therapist and recommend a massage before or after your adjustment as needed. It’s also convenient for the patient to see both providers at one location.
What Type of Massage Is Best for Back Pain?
One of the benefits of seeing a massage therapist who practices within your chiropractor’s office is that your chiropractor can make sure you receive the right type of massage for your condition. He can also advise the therapist on areas to avoid or treat gently. The type of massage you need may change from appointment to appointment. If you struggle with knots and trigger points, then a deep tissue massage may be best. If swelling is a problem, then a lymphatic drainage massage could help.
Your massage therapist can adjust their treatments according to your chiropractor’s recommendations and your feedback. When you receive a message for a specific condition, you may experience some discomfort. For instance, working on a tender, swollen joint may hurt a bit. Deep tissue massages can also be uncomfortable. Let your therapist know if you need them to stop or avoid an area, but keep in mind that enduring a bit of discomfort on the table will likely lead to less pain after your treatment.
Together your chiropractor and your massage therapist can address all the causes of your pain and help you feel better faster.
Chiropractic Care and Massage in Florence, KY
At All Star Chiropractic, we offer both spinal adjustment and massage at our Florence location. We believe in offering our patients a well-rounded treatment plan so they can heal better and get back to life sooner. We’ve found that combining massage with other chiropractic care has many benefits for our patients. Schedule a consultation today to find out how we can help you feel better.