Chiropractic medicine is based on the idea that your body can help to keep itself healthy if your spine, neck, and head are aligned properly and free from abnormalities that impair the proper flow of energy along your spinal column. Doctors of Chiropractic thus work with spinal structures, using manipulative techniques to correct injuries and abnormalities and to speed healing of health problems—particularly musculoskeletal and neurological ones—that arise from misaligned bones.
At the same time, however, the bones of the spine are surrounded by muscle tissue and connective tissues (such as ligaments and tendons) that enable and control its movements. These soft tissues are affected by the spinal abnormalities, and may either cause or exacerbate structural problems. So massage therapy (which works to relax muscles, increase blood flow and improve mobility of connective tissues) is often a perfect complement to chiropractic manipulation (which works to resolve the structural problems).
Chiropractic and massage are not only compatible, they are complementary.
Massage is often recommended as an integral part of a broader chiropractic treatment plan, either in the form of massage to loosen muscle tightness before an adjustment, or after an adjustment to help the muscles adapt to the newly-repaired spinal structures. Many patients report that the combination of these two therapies works better than either therapy alone.
There is even objective evidence of this, in the form of an extensive survey of alternative health care treatments conducted by Consumer Reports magazine. Asking over 34,000 readers to rate both conventional and alternative treatments as to whether they "helped a lot," "helped some," or "helped a little," the researchers found that chiropractic and massage rated higher than any other alternative health care methodologies, and in some cases higher than conventional medical care. Chiropractic, for example, was rated most effective in relieving back pain, while deep tissue massage was rated most effective in treating osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. As researcher Tiffany Field explained, "Moderate pressure to muscles and soft tissues stimulates a cascade of biological effects… We find that moderate pressure is essential for the effects we see from massage, and may be one way that chiropractic works as well, because typically a chiropractor applies moderate pressure."
How is massage integrated into chiropractic treatment?
Many Doctors of Chiropractic work closely with trained massage therapists to provide the proper combination of therapies. For example, massage is often recommended before spinal adjustment because it relieves muscle tension that may be pulling joints out of alignment, and makes it easier for the chiropractor to move them back into place. Alternatively, many patients who seek pain relief from massage therapists but find that their discomfort persists experience more lasting relief by adding chiropractic care to their health regimen.
Many patients have discovered that they recovery from injuries much more quickly and much more completely with the combination of chiropractic care and massage therapy. This is most noticeable with conditions that cause chronic pain—the chiropractor works to relieve the structural problems and the massage therapist works to resolve the soft tissue problems. Most chiropractors who work hand-in-hand with massage therapists collaborate to find the most effective treatment regimen for each patient—the one that returns them to a feeling of health and well-being as quickly as possible.
So massage therapy can be seen as almost a perfect "partner" for chiropractic care. Both treatment methodologies are holistic and focus on helping patients without the use of drugs or surgery, and both are dedicated to finding and treating the underlying cause of your pain rather than just treating the symptoms.
Opinions towards healthcare have changed in recent years and of course, different problems are solved with different reactions. For example, tripping and falling down a flight of stairs will create a completely different approach than being pregnant and going into labour. However, society is now starting to address longer lifespans and what the costs of what’s now known as ‘lifestyle diseases’ are, meaning that disease prevention is taken more seriously. In addition to this, early intervention is also seen as a more important factor as we realize how vital it can be to spot health problems early on.
Even the Affordable Care Act as part of the national healthcare policy now states that certain services are to be covered when it comes to preventative care. People are also now being made aware of what tests and examinations should be done at what age by their private insurers as well as how each medication works and how to use them efficiently. The changes have even made an impact in the workplace as many companies have rolled out a ‘wellness program’ to ensure the best health for its employees. Although both the public and private sector has improved their stance on healthcare, it is still important to note that the main person in charge of your health is you. It is great that all these programs are set up and ready to help but you still know your body better than anyone else and nobody is affected by your wellness as much as you. So despite interest levels from elsewhere, is should still be you that has the most interest in prevention and early intervention.
Perhaps the most common workplace injury is to the musculoskeletal system and these are the ones that we have to be aware of most as nobody else will be able to see it from the outside. Musculoskeletal damage often causes pain in the bones, joints and muscles and can, in turn, have a great impact on our strength, balance, stamina and more. The biggest problem in this area is that people often think that it is a natural side-effect of ageing where this isn’t completely true. By becoming healthier and attending regular chiropractic sessions, we can delay the ‘effects of ageing’.
How Can A Chiropractor Help? – Chiropractors are fully qualified and trained to manipulate your spine in a certain way to re-align and relieve any back, neck and joint pain. These small movements are known as ‘adjustments’ and can reduce pain as well as improve mobility.
Of course, the main reason for visiting a chiropractor is to alleviate any pain that is being experienced but it should also be looked at as a long-term health benefit. Chiropractors are trained with prevention in mind so don’t just act to remove pain but to also keep it away in the future. Physicians know that a person’s decisions on a daily basis will affect general health and so the most important thing is to keep the pain away so they do not have to visit the chiropractor on a regular basis.
There are some things that you can do to prevent the possibility of these pains ever being a problem. You should try to: keep a healthy diet, keep active, lose weight if required, achieve enough sleep, maintain a good posture, lift heavy items correctly, and be responsible with alcohol. It really is important to take responsibility of your own health so that you won’t be suffering further down the line!
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