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Chiropractor vs. Massage Therapy: What’s the Difference?

Written by: Lamark Media
January 24, 2017

When you’re suffering from back pain, you may be self-treating with over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen and cold packs. But when the pain becomes too much, you might be wondering what else you can do to find needed pain relief.

Two options include chiropractic care and massage therapy. While chiropractors and masseuses use their hands to treat patients, there is a drastic difference between the two. Still, the therapies go hand-in-hand as many chiropractors will recommend massage therapy along with chiropractic care. Some chiropractic offices also have a masseuse available for patients in need.

Similarities and Differences Between Massage and Chiropractic

In the scope of visiting a chiropractor vs. a masseuse, there are many similarities and differences. As previously mentioned, both use their hands to help patients. They also:

  • Work the body to encourage healthier alignment
  • Treatments have immediate effects
  • Drug-free, non-surgical alternatives to pain management

So, what are the differences between massage therapists and chiropractors?

Chiropractors can make medical diagnoses and request x-rays and/or blood work to investigate the cause of a patient’s pain.

Massage therapists cannot make medical diagnoses or request diagnostic testing.

Chiropractic care can specifically address disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous system. Some common issues chiropractors can help with include joint pain, headaches, ear infections, tendonitis, and tension.

Massage therapy is known to help with tension, pain, and has been shown to help with insomnia.

Benefits of Seeing a Chiropractor

Chiropractors perform direct manipulations of the spine and joints, and need much more training than massage therapists. Chiropractors must have an undergraduate degree and a doctorate of a chiropractic program.

While there are shared health benefits in chiropractic and massage therapy, chiropractors can treat some specific medical conditions. Massage may reduce symptoms related to these health conditions, but are not directly treating one.

Chiropractic care can treat conditions such as:

  • Tension
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Tendonitis
  • Joint Pain
  • Ear Infections
  • Insomnia

Benefits of Seeing a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists focus on manipulating soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They are not licensed to adjust the spine or other joints. Massage can certainly complement chiropractic care, and has health benefits for wellness that are great for healing.

Massage therapy can provide health benefits, such as:

  • Increased Blood Flow
  • Boosted Immunity
  • Reduced Anxiety
  • Improved Skin Condition

Chiropractic Care and Massage Therapy are Better Together

Ultimately, a balance of these two therapies can help patients suffering from chronic pain. Massage therapy can help loosen up the muscles prior to or after an adjustment. Additionally, a back adjustment can last longer when a patient's muscle tension is released.

Massage therapists and chiropractors can work together to provide patients with the best outcome possible.

If you or someone in your family is in need of a back adjustment or is seeking massage therapy, contact a ChiroCare office to schedule an appointment. During your visit, our doctors can determine the underlying cause of your pain and provide a course of treatment to meet your needs that can include massage therapy.

We have eight convenient locations throughout South Florida.

Call 1-877-DRRIGHT now.

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