I am frequently asked by patients whether I think chiropractic or massage would be the best choice for them. The answer is usually a combination.
Your muscles attach to your bones and whether or not they are tight and contracted is controlled by nerves. If bones don’t move, the muscles will have no reason to lengthen. Considering that, when faced with the question “should I do chiropractic or massage” the answer would clearly be to have a chiropractic adjustment. If you are under regular chiropractic care and your vertebrae are moving as they should, massage will be a great addition.
How do you know if your bones are moving properly? Is the motion in your neck restricted when you look at the ceiling? Can you comfortably sit up with good posture at your desk or do you feel yourself falling forward as the day goes on? When you try to look at your blind spot while driving, do you have to rely on your mirrors because your neck is too stiff? When you turn your neck do your shoulders turn with it? When moving your shoulder blades back and down, can you do it comfortably or are your shoulders typically lifted up next to your ears? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your problem is stemming from an issue with your skeleton and chiropractic would be the best choice for you.
Sometimes a back or neck pain is more often related to nerves. Do you ever have tingling in your finger tips or feet? Do you have referred pain down an arm or leg? Do you worry when you bend over if your back will give out or you won’t be able to stand up? Are your fingers or toes numb? All of these things point toward an issue with your nerves and your problem needs chiropractic attention.
Massage is a wonderful thing. It stimulates healing, blood flow, just the simple act of someone touching you is relaxing. Is it a cure for back problems? I don’t think so. Typically the reason your muscles are too contracted is much deeper and more complex than a simple muscle issue. It often relates to poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle where you are spending too much time in a seated position during the day and then not getting enough exercise when you are done with work.
When faced with the choice of chiropractic or massage, try chiropractic first to get your spine moving better on a more consistent basis and then supplement that work with massage. They both work very well together. On top of both of these, make sure you are following a regular exercise and activity program.