Have you been trying to decide whether to receive massage therapy or chiropractic care? The short answer is: for the most effective treatment, combining both may be your best strategy.
Now for the long answer. Your muscular and skeletal systems work in tandem as you move and go about your daily life. So it should come as no surprise that massage — which targets your muscles — and chiropractic care — which works primarily with your joint mobility and alignment — go hand in hand.
Over the years, chronically shortened muscles can reduce range of motion in your joints1 and pull joints out of alignment, causing pain and discomfort. On the other side of the coin, problems in the skeletal system can worsen muscle imbalances. By loosening muscles through massage and also correcting alignment through chiropractic work, you may get better results than with a single treatment strategy.
Where to start
So, massage and chiropractic complement each other as treatments. But which one should you book in for first?
Either way you will likely observe benefits, especially if you make treatment a regular habit. Having said that, our experts recommend starting with a massage before your chiropractic treatment for effective and long-lasting results.
Key benefits of combining chiropractic and massage therapy
Separately, chiropractic and massage treatments both show numerous benefits in the treatment of pain, especially in the head, neck and back2. Combined, they work together as a holistic approach to your musculoskeletal health.
Some key reasons why chiropractic and massage are a fantastic combination include:
Prime your muscles for your adjustment. Tight, inflexible muscles can not only cause discomfort and limit your range of motion, but may limit what manual adjustments your chiropractor is able to perform. By softening and elongating your muscles, regular massage therapy can help to prepare your body before chiropractic treatment.
Relax your body and nervous system. Massage therapy has been shown to have many benefits, including improved circulation, increased oxytocin, decreased basal hypothalamic-pituitary axis activity, enhanced feelings of relaxation, increased feelings of well-being, and lower levels of anxiety, depression, and pain2. By tapping into this powerful relaxation, you can reach a state where your mind and body are ready to accept and retain the benefits of chiropractic adjustments.
Penetrate deeper into muscle tissue. There’s evidence that chiropractic manipulation combined with stripping massage (a type of deep tissue massage, targeting specific muscle fibres) can be more beneficial than chiropractic alone when treating neck pain and improving mobility3.
Speed up the healing process. By addressing problems with your muscles, joints and skeletal system together through a combined massage and chiropractic treatment, you’ll have the best chance of recovering from injury or minimising chronic pain quickly and effectively.
Ready for an effective and long-lasting treatment for your discomfort, stiffness or pain? At Realign Health you can book both massage and chiropractic treatments with our friendly, expert staff. Get in touch today to make an appointment or discuss your needs with the team.
1 PE Williams., Effect of intermittent stretch on immobilised muscle, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 1988
2 CT Plastaras, S Schran, N Kim, S Sorosky, D Darr, MS Chen, R Lansky., Complementary and alternative treatment for neck pain: chiropractic, acupuncture, TENS, massage, yoga, Tai Chi, and Feldenkrais, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics, 2011
3 GC Botha., Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy and Stripping Massage of the Sternocleidomastoid for the Treatment of Chronic Mechanical Neck Pain and Its Effect on Head Repositioning Accuracy, University of Johannesburg (South Africa), 2014
SA Wellness Centre, The Relationship between Massage & Chiropractic, 2016