Whether you love massages and going to the chiropractor, or are looking into it for the first time, it’s important to know the difference. While both massage therapists and chiropractors often use the same type of tables, their purposes may differ.
What’s the difference?
Massage therapy is often used to aid in muscle soreness. This especially helps professional athletes or people who work out intensely and often. Chiropractic care focuses on spinal alignment. Therefore, it can be used to aid in alleviating back pain or as a pain management therapy.
The main difference between the two therapies is that massage focuses on soft tissue, while chiropractic focuses on the musculoskeletal system. A massage therapist may use varying types of massage such as deep tissue or Swedish massage. Conversely, a chiropractor often does spinal adjustments and focuses on maintaining proper alignment. In addition, chiropractors may take x-rays, perform physical therapy, as well as perform a physical examination and do lab tests.
Massage therapist vs. chiropractor education
Maybe you’ve heard that chiropractors aren’t real doctors. Although they may not receive an MD, chiropractors still have to complete a bachelor’s degree along with a doctor of chiropractic degree (D.C.). This degree takes 4 years to complete and a chiropractor has to pass a board examination before practicing.
On the other hand, a massage therapist only needs to complete about 50 hours of training and complete a certification. However, the amount of time and requirements needed for a massage therapist can vary widely by state. Depending on the program, someone can become a massage therapist in a few weeks or it could take two years.
There is a huge difference in the amount of education required between the two professions of chiropractic and massage. Furthermore, chiropractors are able to perform x-rays, refer patients to medical professionals, and prescribe exercise and nutritional advice, exercise, and vitamin regimens.
Benefits from massage
There are several conditions that massage therapy on an Earthlite massage table may benefit, with a few listed from Mayo Clinic below.
More research is required to confirm these benefits. However, massage is a great way to relieve sore muscle tension and relax from the daily grind.
Benefits from Chiropractic
Chiropractors can often help alleviate recurring pain. For example, WebMD mentions that chiropractic therapy could help alleviate the following:
Some of these, such as osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, may benefit from both massage therapy and chiropractic care. Therefore, it can be hard to determine whether massage or chiropractic is right for you.
Often though, chiropractors can help alleviate pain arising from the bone, ligament, or joints. If considering a pain management professional, a chiropractor may help target the root of the pain.
Massage and chiropractic care may not be for everyone. For example, if you’re recovering from burns, taking blood-thinning medications, or have osteoporosis, both massage and chiropractic may not be right for you. Make sure to talk to your doctor, especially if you have any unexplained pain, before seeking out massage therapy or chiropractic care.
Both massage therapists and chiropractors should be well associated with potential risks of their respective therapies. Therefore, if it’s your first time at either, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure to inform the professional of any conditions you have and medications you take.
What’s right for you?
Everyone’s situation is unique. Both massage therapy and chiropractic care can be useful parts of holistic care. If you work out often and have sore muscles from doing so, going to a massage therapist once in a while could certainly help with those sore muscles. However, seeing a chiropractor on occasion, especially when having back or neck pain, would also be useful. For example, a New York Times article explains that spinal manipulation by a chiropractor has been shown to improve pain in people with chronic back pain.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine what’s best for your personal situation. However, don’t be afraid to try out either chiropractic care or massage therapy.
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