About 60 to 80 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from low back pain and it’s the second most common reason why people go to the doctor, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. In many cases, alternative treatments such as visiting a chiropractor or receiving a massage can reduce or eliminate your pain. Understanding the fundamental differences between the two could help you select the best treatment method for your specific needs.
Chiropractic Care – Aligning Your Spine
Chiropractic treatment is performed by a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) who is trained and certified through a specialized university program. This treatment involves the manipulation and adjustment of the musculoskeletal system, which includes the spine, muscles, tendons and surrounding joints. Chiropractic treatment focuses primarily on the alignment of the spine and specific joints. To relieve pain, chiropractors use their hands or a chiropractic adjustment tool to apply controlled pressure to an affected area. Common pain points chiropractic care can be used to treat include the lower back, neck and even headaches.
Since the spine is the main focus of chiropractic treatment, examinations generally require X-rays or other lab tests to pinpoint problem areas. Spinal health is extremely important because the spinal cord acts as an extension of the body’s central nervous system, which communicates messages throughout the entire body. Since spinal alignment requires such precise manipulation, it’s best to receive professional treatment for symptoms related to spinal or surrounding joint pain. Depending on your circumstance, a chiropractor may work with your family doctor or other recommended specialists throughout treatment to ensure healing progress.
Massage Therapy – Relieving Tension
A massage, on the other hand, is performed by a licensed massage therapist who applies direct pressure to soft tissue or muscle groups to relieve pain and promote healing and wellness. Unlike chiropractic treatment, massage treatment focuses solely on the stimulation of muscles and is not used to treat pain associated with the spine, joints or tendons. There are multiple benefits to massage therapy including relaxation, increased energy and mood enhancement. Many find that receiving a massage following chiropractic treatment can promote additional healing and decrease discomfort and inflammation after treatment.
Both of these options can be used to treat temporary, situational or chronic pain. Not sure which treatment is right for you? Listen to your body’s pain points. In either scenario, talk with your doctor to determine if these options are right for you. If you can’t afford a chiropractor or a massage specialist due to health insurance, check out our plans to see how Priority Health can help you ease your back pains!