Massage Vs. Chiropractor: Which One Is Better?

When considering massage vs. chiropractor, the one that is best for you depends on your needs and goals. If you only need to reduce stress levels and feel more relaxed, a regular massage can do the trick.

On the other hand, if you are seeking treatment for a specific medical condition or have other health considerations, a chiropractor may be better able to provide what you need.


What Does a Chiropractor Do?

A chiropractor is a medical professional who is qualified to provide chiropractic adjustments and other methods of care to patients seeking treatment for musculoskeletal issues.

Chiropractic massage is a kind of physiotherapy your chiropractor can use to:

  • Improve your ability to heal after an injury or illness
  • Target a particular body part that is troubling you
  • Increase your range of motion if you have been injured, gone through surgery, or have bothersome scar tissue

Before starting treatment, a chiropractor will diagnose your condition, allowing them to determine if massage is safe and suitable for you. This could involve:

  • Talking with you about your condition or giving you a questionnaire
  • Ordering tests, such as x-rays
  • Examining your overall medical and treatment history

They may administer a single treatment or ask you to come back multiple times, depending on what you need.

What Does a Masseur Do?

A masseur is an individual who provides massages to clients. This is their primary function, unlike a chiropractor who can provide many kinds of treatment.

As the Mayo Clinic explains, massage has many health benefits, including:

  • Reducing physical and mental stress
  • Improving blood flow
  • Reducing pain

Some people only choose to get a massage when they are feeling particularly stressed, while others get them regularly. Both options can be beneficial.


Massage Vs. Massage Therapy

Both massage and massage therapy offer valuable benefits to patients. However, there are key differences between the two.

Massages, as helpful as they can be, are not inherently clinical in nature. Masseurs, although trained, are not medical professionals and can only provide you with massage, not medical advice or diagnoses. For some patients, this is enough. Others require more.

Massage therapy is administered by a licensed massage therapist. This is a professional who has received specialized training in how to use massage to treat various medical conditions, including:

  • Bursitis
  • Frequent headaches
  • Muscle sprains or strains
  • Nerve conditions, like sciatica
  • Congenital conditions, like scoliosis
  • Whiplash
  • Back and spine injuries

Both masseurs and massage therapists can provide a massage to help you feel good. Only a massage therapist can use massage to target your specific condition and combine it with other physiotherapeutic treatments to maximize benefits. 


Chiropractic Treatment Beyond Massage

For many, the biggest factor in deciding between massage vs. chiropractor and determining which is better for them is whether or not they require other treatments. A masseur can only provide massage. A chiropractic care clinic typically offers a variety of treatment options to address your pain, including:

  • Chiropractic adjustments: the careful pushing of misaligned bones back into place to alleviate pain and treat certain injuries or conditions
  • Rehabilitative therapy: guided stretches and exercises that gradually increase your ability to use any body part weakened by injury, illness, or surgery
  • Ultrasound therapy: sound pulses that relieve tension, reduce pain, and increase your body’s ability to heal itself
  • E-STIM therapy: light electrical pulses that reduce pain and scar tissue at the site of an injury

You may receive massage therapy and chiropractic care for as long as the treatment continues to help you.


Assessing Your Need for a Massage

If you are still having trouble deciding whether you need a chiropractor or a masseur, a good way to find out is by contacting both kinds of providers. This would give you the chance to ask them questions about:

  • Their credentials, including where they trained and what experience they have 
  • What kinds of massage they offer and a risk/benefit analysis of each
  • What you can expect after your massage (e.g., how long it will take before you start feeling any effects)

Feel free to consult with as many chiropractors and/or masseurs as you want. The more professionals you talk to, the better you may understand the services they offer, and the easier it might be for you to find the right provider.


When Not to Get a Massage

The Mayo Clinic notes several situations where someone may want to avoid massage altogether. These include when the patient:

  • Has a serious injury, like a burn, a bone fracture, or an infection
  • Suffers from a bleeding disorder like hemophilia
  • Has severely weakened bones due to a condition like osteoporosis

Whether you choose to receive a massage from a masseur or a massage therapist, you should first see a qualified medical professional to make sure you are healthy enough to handle it. A doctor at a chiropractic care clinic could provide such a diagnosis.

If you are pregnant, you may be able to safely get a massage. Again, check with a qualified medical professional before doing so.


When to Stop Massage

Even if a doctor clears you to get a massage, both you and your massage provider should be alert for any signs that you are not responding well to it. This could include unexpected pain and soreness, or the worsening of any injury or illness symptoms.

Talk to your massage provider about the potential risks or side effects of massage. If you start experiencing any problems, even if you aren’t completely sure the massage caused them, stop the massage right away and consult a doctor.

Explore the Benefits of Massage and Chiropractic Care at SCC

At Specific Care Chiropractic, we have providers who would be happy to offer you quality chiropractic care, including massage therapy. Call us at (239) 369-9109 to book your first appointment. We can explain more about the differences between massage vs. chiropractor, and help determine which one is better for you.