Massage therapy is a complementary form of treatment that works with chiropractic care to ease sore muscles and relieve back and neck pain. These two forms of alternative medicine are often combined to offer immediate relief of pain and correct spinal misalignments that are contributing to the pain. Combining these approaches to treat muscle pain and other conditions can even improve your recovery time by creating a synergistic effect that helps your body heal.
Understanding Therapeutic Massage
There are many types of massage, although they vary a great deal in their goals and ability to alleviate chronic pain and discomfort.
Swedish massage is the most well-known type of therapeutic massage. This technique relaxes the muscles through long, gliding strokes in the direction of blood flow back to the heart. This type of massage also uses circular pressure, firm kneading, and stretching to relax the body and improve nervous system function.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage therapy, although the deeper pressure of this technique can help release chronic tension in the muscles. Deep tissue massage therapy focuses on the deep layers of tendons, muscle, and fascia. Research has found deep tissue massage can reduce stress hormone (cortisol) levels and heart rate by triggering the body’s release of serotonin and oxytocin.
Sports massage is a specialty form of therapeutic massage designed for athletes of all types, including joggers, tennis players, soccer players, bicyclists, and football players. Sports massage focuses on the areas of the body exposed to repetitive and aggressive movement and stress to reduce recovery time, promote flexibility, reduce fatigue, and boost endurance. An important benefit of sports massage is its ability to target muscle-tendon junctions. Research has found that even a 30-minute targeted massage can boost hip-flexor range of motion among athletes.
Pregnancy massage is a special type of massage designed to relieve the aches and strain of pregnancy without harming mother or child. Massage therapy is a safe and drug-free form of complementary medicine that reduces stress and promotes overall wellness. This type of massage can relieve the discomfort associated with pregnancy, including headaches, edema, cramps, stiff neck, backaches, and sciatica.
Prenatal massage can also ease stress on weight-bearing joints for improved blood circulation and reduces nervous tension.
Massage Therapy & Chiropractic Care
Massage therapy has proven beneficial effects on the nervous system, working to relax the nervous system without pain or side effects. Because massage therapy relaxes the nervous system, it is usually done before chiropractic treatment to make the chiropractic adjustments more effective. This is because the muscles are often so stiff from chronic pain and spinal misalignment that the body resists adjustments. By relaxing the body through massage first, the chiropractor will be able to more easily make realignments to get to the heart of the issue.
Massage is also beneficial for people who have a physical injury such as from sports, a car accident, or any other activity. Massage relaxes the immune system while improving blood circulation to help the body heal itself.
Chiropractic care and massage therapy are complementary forms of treatment that have the same goal: natural and complete well-being. Both can be used as either preventative or restorative medicine to help you maintain your health and live pain-free.
Why Combine Chiropractic Care with Massage?
Improved range of motion. A primary goal of chiropractic medicine is improving mobility and comfort. Massage can help improve mobility and flexibility of problem ligaments, muscles, and soft tissue to amplify the effects of chiropractic adjustments.
Easier adjustments. Massage relaxes the muscles and nervous system to make chiropractic adjustments easier and more successful.
Boosted circulation. Massage has been found to increase blood flow to affected areas. This can improve recovery from an injury and ease soreness of the muscles.
Patients who receive massage therapy in addition to chiropractic care often experience a faster and more complete recovery than through a more isolated treatment. The spine as well as soft tissues and supporting structures work together to function properly and this balance can be disrupted through physical injury or repetition injuries.
It’s also important to realize there is a difference between a massage you may receive at a spa and a massage performed at a chiropractic center. While a massage at a spa or salon may feel rejuvenating, you may notice the chronic pain returning in a matter of days. This is because the massage does not address the underlying cause of the pain. Therapeutic massage performed with medical knowledge by a chiropractor can address the heart of your pain and improve your recovery.
If you have a condition you believe may be improved through chiropractic care and/or massage therapy, contact Chiropractic Fit to schedule a consultation. A chiropractor can help identify the problem and determine the best course of action.