The short answer is: that depends on you. In addition to relieving muscle tension, massage treatments boost immunity, improve skin conditions, increase blood flow, reduce anxiety, help with pain management, and generally work to balance body systems. In addition to treating back pain, chiropractic care can be used to treat joint pain, headaches, ear infections, tendonitis, and insomnia. Let’s review what a massage therapist vs. chiropractor does. We’ll outline what these to fields have in common and where there differences lay.
Massage Therapist vs. Chiropractor – Similarities
- Both use their hands to treat clients
- Both use their hand to encourage the body into a state of healthier alignment and greater ease.
- Both forms of treatment have immediate effects – you’ll usually feel better as soon as you get off the treatment table.
- Both provide drug-free, non-surgical alternatives to pain management and improved quality of life.
Massage Therapist vs. Chiropractor – Differences
- Chiropractors are performing direct manipulations of the spine, joints, and nervous system. Because they are using a direct approach, Chiropractors are required to have much more training than massage therapists – they are doctors who not only need a four-year undergraduate education but also a four-year doctorate of chiropractic program.
- While Chiropractors focus on manipulating hard tissues (bone), massage therapists work on soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, and tendons). To become certified, a massage therapist requires between 330 and 1,000 hours of training, depending on the state.
- Chiropractors are authorized to make medical diagnoses as well as order x-rays and blood work.
- Massage therapy is often used as a luxury treatment to pamper and relax a client. However, there is a wealth of scientific research demonstrating it to be a powerful treatment option for a wealth of conditions including pain management.
Massage and Chiropractic Care Go Together
When muscles, ligaments, and tendons are tight, this can contribute to poor alignment of the spine and joints. Similarly, if the spine or joints are out of alignment, this can cause chronic muscle strain and tightness. Therefore, it’s no surprise that massage therapists and chiropractors often work together. In this relationship, the massage therapist will work with the client, either before or after a chiropractic treatment, to relax and realign the tissues around the spine so that the chiropractic adjustment to the spine lasts longer.
Other Drug-Free, Non-Surgical Pain Management Options
We’ve discussed massage therapy and chiropractic care, but there are several options that may also help pain management and injury recovery without drugs or surgery. Notably, acupuncture and physical therapy can be immensely helpful. Specific types of exercise can be incredibly useful in alleviating pain and facilitating recovery. These include yoga, walking, and exercises that target specific muscle groups that may need stretching or strengthening to bring the body into balance. Finally, meditation has proven to be a powerful pain management technique, stress reliever, and more.