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Why Are Chiropractic and Massage Therapy Often Used Together?

Chiropractic medicine is based on the idea that your body can help to keep itself healthy if your spine, neck, and head are aligned properly and free from abnormalities that impair the proper flow of energy along your spinal column. Doctors of Chiropractic thus work with spinal structures, using manipulative techniques to correct injuries and abnormalities and to speed healing of health problems—particularly musculoskeletal and neurological ones—that arise from misaligned bones.

At the same time, however, the bones of the spine are surrounded by muscle tissue and connective tissues (such as ligaments and tendons) that enable and control its movements. These soft tissues are affected by the spinal abnormalities, and may either cause or exacerbate structural problems. So massage therapy (which works to relax muscles, increase blood flow and improve mobility of connective tissues) is often a perfect complement to chiropractic manipulation (which works to resolve the structural problems).

Chiropractic and massage are not only compatible, they are complementary.

Massage is often recommended as an integral part of a broader chiropractic treatment plan, either in the form of massage to loosen muscle tightness before an adjustment, or after an adjustment to help the muscles adapt to the newly-repaired spinal structures. Many patients report that the combination of these two therapies works better than either therapy alone.

There is even objective evidence of this, in the form of an extensive survey of alternative health care treatments conducted by Consumer Reports magazine. Asking over 34,000 readers to rate both conventional and alternative treatments as to whether they “helped a lot,” “helped some,” or “helped a little,” the researchers found that chiropractic and massage rated higher than any other alternative health care methodologies, and in some cases higher than conventional medical care. Chiropractic, for example, was rated most effective in relieving back pain, while deep tissue massage was rated most effective in treating osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. As researcher Tiffany Field explained, “Moderate pressure to muscles and soft tissues stimulates a cascade of biological effects… We find that moderate pressure is essential for the effects we see from massage, and may be one way that chiropractic works as well, because typically a chiropractor applies moderate pressure.”

How is massage integrated into chiropractic treatment?

Many Doctors of Chiropractic work closely with trained massage therapists to provide the proper combination of therapies. For example, massage is often recommended before spinal adjustment because it relieves muscle tension that may be pulling joints out of alignment, and makes it easier for the chiropractor to move them back into place. Alternatively, many patients who seek pain relief from massage therapists but find that their discomfort persists experience more lasting relief by adding chiropractic care to their health regimen.

Many patients have discovered that they recovery from injuries much more quickly and much more completely with the combination of chiropractic care and massage therapy. This is most noticeable with conditions that cause chronic pain—the chiropractor works to relieve the structural problems and the massage therapist works to resolve the soft tissue problems. Most chiropractors who work hand-in-hand with massage therapists collaborate to find the most effective treatment regimen for each patient—the one that returns them to a feeling of health and well-being as quickly as possible.

So massage therapy can be seen as almost a perfect “partner” for chiropractic care. Both treatment methodologies are holistic and focus on helping patients without the use of drugs or surgery, and both are dedicated to finding and treating the underlying cause of your pain rather than just treating the symptoms.

Why do People Seek out a Chiropractor?

Today, a growing number of people are seeking a chiropractor in addition to—or even in place of—a traditional medical doctor. As chiropractic care continues to grow in popularity as a non-invasive treatment for a broad range of illnesses and injuries, it is also proving to be the choice of many who want to take steps now to enhance their health and to prevent the future onset of disease.

The Demand for Chiropractic Care

Not only is chiropractic care becoming increasingly accepted as an effective method of treatment for a number of medical conditions, the consumer demand for more expansive chiropractic treatments is growing. While it’s not surprising that an increasing number of people are looking to chiropractic care for musculoskeletal conditions, there are still many who do not realize the impact that chiropractic care can have on overall health and well-being. Chiropractic care has been shown to be highly effective for relieving pain and restoring function, but it can do so much more!

The Focus on Holistic Care and Wellness for the Future

In many instances, people seek out chiropractors as part of their larger healthcare team, often to enhance medical treatments they are receiving or to provide a more holistic approach. Within today’s universe of complementary and alternative medicine, chiropractic is the type of non-allopathic healthcare service chosen most often by patients. Changes to health insurance that expand coverage for chiropractic services have also helped make these services more accessible to larger numbers of people.

The fact that chiropractic physicians work closely with their patients to build healthy lifestyle habits—principally in the areas of exercise, nutrition, sleep and stress management—appeals to a large segment of the population that has grown skeptical of “sickness care” and is interested in taking a more active role in their own health and well-being. And this trend is clear outside the U.S. as well. A recent survey of Australian chiropractic patients cited by researchers in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics highlights just one of the important reasons people choose chiropractic care in the first place. Of 486 patients receiving care at 96 clinics, 92% EITHER AGREED OR STRONGLY AGREED that chiropractic care helped them take more responsibility for their own health.

In terms of the specific health and wellness goals that motivated surveyed patients to seek out a chiropractor, most were related to musculoskeletal issues (69%) or general health (21%). A relatively small minority visited their chiropractor about headaches or non-musculoskeletal conditions.

The Growing Attraction of Chiropractic Care

Today patients visit their chiropractic physicians for a wider variety of reasons than they did in the past, including:

  • Digestive Problems
  • Allergies
  • Migraines
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Sleep Issues

In addition to being safe and effective, chiropractic care appeals to patients who want to avoid the risks that come with drugs and surgery. The Australian survey results suggest they see chiropractic as a sound investment in conservative treatment as well as prevention. Interestingly, about two-thirds of chiropractic patients view chiropractic as a first choice (65%) rather than as a last resort (12%) for their complaint, and 96% either strongly agree or agree that chiropractic care helps with general health and well-being. Plus, 98% would seek chiropractic services again and were satisfied with the treatment they had received.

So if you’re wondering whether chiropractic care might be right for you, we encourage you to call or visit our office today. We’ll be happy to discuss your situation with you and explain our approach. Come learn why so many others trust us with their health and well-being!