Patients ask us all the time, asking, “Should I use massage or chiropractor for neck pain?” On the surface, chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy sessions can seem very similar. Granted, chiropractors and massage therapists focus on relieving joint and muscle pain, preventing injuries, and helping people recover from injuries they’ve experienced. Still, their treatment methods can be very different. Both types of treatment are beneficial for many types of injuries and chronic conditions. 

Understanding the difference between these two types of treatment can help you decide which is best for your specific condition or injury. 

What Do Chiropractors Do?

Chiropractors use their hands to restore range of movement to stuck or “subluxated” joints, relieving pain and improving performance. Chiropractic focuses primarily on the spinal joints and the musculoskeletal system, including the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and bones. When the bones that make up the spine (vertebrae) stop functioning properly, people can experience pain and stiffness as well as more serious issues, Motion in the spine 

The primary goal of chiropractic care is pain relief, increased strength & mobility, improved recovery time after injury, and easing the pain of chronic conditions and injuries. Chiropractors work with their patients individually to address the cause of their patient’s pain. 

When Should You See a Chiropractor in Denver

It can be confusing when deciding between massage or chiropractor for neck and shoulder pain. It’s best to see a chiropractor as soon as you begin experiencing joint pain, neck pain, back pain, headaches, or issues with mobility. Chronic pain in the spine, pelvis, and shoulders, or pain radiating to the arms or legs. In addition, other problems we treat in our patients include muscle pain, plantar fasciitis, and sciatica

However, if you’re unsure what is causing your pain, visiting a chiropractor before going to a massage therapist is wise. A doctor of Chiropractic is typically better suited to diagnose your problem accurately than a massage therapist. Integrative Health and Rehabilitation chiropractors have decades of experience accurately diagnosing and treating injuries. They can quickly diagnose the cause of your pain and determine if massage therapy can help.

What Do Massage Therapists Do?

The primary difference between massages and chiropractic adjustments is that massage therapy focuses on muscles and soft tissues. Massage therapists use their hands to relieve pain, tension, and stiffness in the muscles. Massage therapists can vary the styles of massage they use. One style uses slower, heavier pressure for a “deeper” massage. If you prefer a more relaxing massage, a Swedish-style massage focuses on increasing circulation to help bring oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and flush toxins.

An experienced massage therapist will be familiar with many types or styles of massage and should be able to help you decide what is best for your specific issues

When Should You See A Massage Therapist?

Massage therapy is an excellent solution for relieving stress and tension muscle tightness. Massages can also improve your range of motion, relieve chronic headaches, and improve your sleep. There are also times when massage is contraindicated. If you are experiencing any of the following conditions, you should NOT receive a massage:

  • High Fever
  • Meningitis
  • Severe Atherosclerosis
  • Acute Pneumonia
  • Eclampsia
  • Severe Hemophilia
  • Pitting Edema
  • Infectious Skin Condition   

Who is Better? Massage or Chiropractor for Neck Pain?

Whether a Chiropractor or Massage Therapist is better depends on your specific problem. Combining chiropractic and massage therapy can relieve pain, improve mobility, and reduce muscle tightness.  Massage therapy could benefit you if your only complaint is muscular pain or tension. Consulting a chiropractor may be necessary if you have been experiencing joint, spine, or musculoskeletal pain. 

If you are experiencing pain in the spine that is radiating to the arms or legs, it is typically a spinal condition that tends to respond best to chiropractic. This type of radicular (radiating) pain is most often the result of nerve irritation where the spinal nerves exit between the vertebrae in the spine. Muscle tightness and stiffness can also occur in these situations but are most often a protective mechanism. When a joint gets inflamed or irritated, the muscles will spasm to act as a splint.

Massage or Chiropractor for Neck Pain? Try both!

These two therapies work well together when deciding whether to see a chiropractor versus a massage therapist. Chiropractic and massage are both more effective when combined. Other types of treatment that work well with chiropractic adjustments include acupuncture, dry needling, and laser therapy.

How Can Integrative Health and Rehabilitation Help You?

The team at Integrative Health and Rehabilitation is here to help. Diagnosing and treating the true source of your pain can be a challenge. That’s why our providers are committed to working with you to determine the cause of your condition and help you recover as quickly as possible. If you’re unsure whether to use massage or chiropractor for neck and shoulder pain, schedule a FREE consultation and we will help you decide.

Looking for a Chiropractor in Denver? Still have questions? Contact us or read some of our 5-Star Google reviews and see what patients have to say. We’ve been helping patients in ArvadaNorth Denver, and Wheat RidgeColorado, for over 20 years. Lastly, learn more about the conditions we treat and the benefits of the many types of treatment we provide on our Health Articles page. Ready to start feeling better? Book an appointment online!