Chiropractic is a popular form of alternative health care. In the US alone, almost 35 million people go for chiropractic services every year. According to study, 1 in 4 adults seek care for back or neck pain annually. Out of that number, around 30% agree that chiropractic care is not only very effective but also very safe. Interestingly enough, less than 15% say the same of back surgery.
But what exactly is chiropractic care? What benefits can you get out of it? Will it work as a stand-alone treatment or should it be paired with other forms of therapy?
1) History of Chiropractic Care
Founder Daniel David Palmer defined chiropractic care as a “science of healing without drugs.” In the field’s early history, chiropractors believed that disorders of the musculoskeletal system (most notably the spine) affect the overall general health of an individual.
Since then, chiropractic has evolved extensively, with today’s practices overlapping with osteopathy and physical therapy. Chiropractors posit that by properly aligning the body’s musculoskeletal structure, the body heals itself without the need to use medication or get surgery. While chiropractic methods mainly involve the manipulation of joints and soft tissues, the majority of present-day practitioners are also more open to integrating traditional medical techniques, including exercise and massage.
2) What Can Chiropractic Do for You?
Various cultures have bonesetters as part of folk medicine. Combining the skills of bonesetters with osteopathy techniques, DD Palmer created a movement in chiropractic. Its many benefits include:
- improving joint mobility and function
- decreasing degeneration of joint and connective tissues
- decreasing inflammatory processes associated with subluxation
- improving blood circulation
- speeding up the recovery process
- improving mental health
- relieving prenatal discomfort
- decreasing pain
Studies also show that chiropractic can be effective in the treatment of conditions like asthma and infant colic, as well as the prevention and treatment of sports injuries and pain in the back, neck and upper extremities.
A typical chiropractic adjustment procedure is done using a chiropractor’s hands or even a small instrument to apply force to the spinal joints in controlled, sudden movements. Modern treatment also makes use of other methods like heat and ice therapy, electrical stimulation, exercise and massage.
3) Massage Therapy Through the Ages
Just like chiropractic, massage has been around a lot longer than people realize. Traditional massage therapy goes back 5000 years. In India, it was considered sacred and the practice was passed down across generations. The Hindus believed massage can restore natural physical balance which is essential in natural healing.
The healing methods of massage expanded to China and Southeast Asia, eventually reaching Egypt, Japan, Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. By the early 1800s, massage therapy was being used in places as far away as Sweden, the Netherlands and the Americas. A full body massage was even prescribed to cure melancholy in society ladies.
Some of the more common methods of massage include:
- effleurage – long, gliding strokes are used, moving inward at varying pressure levels
- petrissage – kneading, skin rolling and lifting movements are used rhythmically
- tapotement – tapping using the side of the hand or fingertips
- friction – deep circular movements are made using the thumbs, palms, fingertips of elbows to penetrate deep tissue
Massage has grown even more in the last 100 years. Nowadays, physiotherapists are using massage as part of therapy sessions, helping push the practice into legitimacy and respectability in the field of medicine. The tools used have also expanded to more than just hands and elbows. Devices such as massage guns are gaining popularity and wider acceptance.
With more and more people choosing healthier lifestyles and more holistic approaches to health care and pain management, massage coupled with chiropractic therapy has become one of the more popular alternatives.
4) Chiropractic and Massage Therapy
How does chiropractic treatment differ from massage therapy?
Chiropractors mainly focus on the spine, joints and hard tissues. Chiropractic care is usually recommended for people with injuries, or those suffering pain from chronic illness and subluxations to the spine.
Massage therapy, meanwhile, usually targets muscles. These include pain from spasms, pulls and strains caused by overwork and stress. It’s also great for relaxation.
Chiropractic care addresses issues with the musculoskeletal system. Massage promotes healing and wellness to the limbic and nervous systems. Combining chiropractic treatment with massage therapy, therefore, is an ideal way to prevent or treat many conditions.
Together, chiropractic and massage therapy can bring about:
- an improvement to the immune system
- a reduction of compression and nerve irritation, thereby reducing joint and soft tissue pain
- a reduction in inflammation
- an increase in blood flow
- an overall improvement in range of motion and flexibility
Chiropractic adjustment is usually done in facilities where the chiropractor first reviews a person’s health history. He may also perform a physical exam to assess the best course of therapy for whatever ails the patient. Facilities often have designated areas for treatment, with specially-designed chiropractic tables for the patient to lie on. Most see improvement in 6 to 10 visits.
Massage therapy is usually combined with chiropractic therapy in cases where the root of the pain is a misalignment in the joints, joint inflammation or pulled muscles and tendons. Chiropractic massage can include any of the following:
- trigger point therapy – relieves pain by applying pressure to trigger points
- myofascial release – ideal for chronic pain and stiffness, slow stretches are utilized to release the fascia and alleviate pain and tension
- sports massage – recommended for muscle pulls from sports or extensive training, with particular focus on keeping muscles limber to avoid further injury
However, while chiropractic is best done with a licensed chiropractor, massage therapy is more accessible, especially with the advent of tools like massage guns.
5) The HYDRAGUN + Chiropractic Care
Massage guns are a relatively new invention, just over a decade-old. However, since these devices have hit the market, their popularity has been steadily increasing.
One such device is the HYDRAGUN. Utilizing percussive massage therapy, the HYDRAGUN’s pummeling action delivers vibrations deep into muscle tissues. This helps in breaking down lactic acid build-up and reduces muscle pain and soreness.
Percussive massage is also a great way to relieve the stiffness and tightness of myofascial tissues. The fascia surrounds muscles throughout the body. When they become stiff, it can result in chronic pain. Massage helps alleviate pain. It also increases blood flow to the area and not only relaxes the muscles but also aids in speeding up recovery.
But perhaps the best thing about massage guns is they deliver the same benefits of an hour-long massage session in as little as 15 minutes. In fact, when it comes to massage guns, more is not always better. Keeping the massage gun pounding on one spot for too long can result in soreness and bruising. In most cases, moving the device in a small radius for 2 minutes per spot should be more than enough to achieve what’s needed.
A massage gun like the HYDRAGUN complements chiropractic care and can help patients get the most out of their chiropractic treatments. A treatment plan combining the two targets both the hard and soft tissues of the body. This helps give faster results and a more complete recovery is achieved.
- Key Facts and Figures About the Chiropractic Profession – https://www.acatoday.org/News-Publications/Newsroom/Key-Facts#:~:text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%20chiropractors,(adults%20and%20children)%20annually.
- One in Four Adults Sought Care for Neck/Back Pain Last Year – https://news.gallup.com/poll/194984/one-four-adults-sought-care-neck-back-pain-last-year.aspx?g_source=Well-Being&g_medium=newsfeed&g_campaign=tiles
- Active range of motion in the cervical spine increases after spinal manipulation – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11604694_Active_range_of_motion_in_the_cervical_spine_increases_after_spinal_manipulation
- Vertebralsubluxation – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertebral_subluxation#:~:text=The%20WHO%20definition%20of%20the,between%20joint%20surfaces%20remains%20intact.
- Chiropractic: Is it Efficient in Treatment of Diseases? Review of Systematic Reviews – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4591574/
6.Science-Backed Reasons Why Percussive Therapy is Good for You – https://hydragun.com/blog/5-science-backed-reasons-why-percussive-therapy-is-good-for-you
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