Chiropractors and massage therapists are quite similar. They both use their hands to treat patients. Their methods can relax their patients and provide comfort while also addressing various physical problems.
However, there is a very drastic difference between them. Understanding the difference can help you choose the right treatment approach that suits your specific condition.
In fact, even if you visit a chiropractor, there’s a chance they will recommend a massage therapist if spinal adjustments aren’t right for you. It goes the other way around: a massage therapist may recommend a chiropractor if spinal adjustments may work better.
While both alternative treatment methods are important, they do not have the same scope of practice. And here we will talk about what sets chiropractic treatment apart from massage therapy.
What can Chiropractors do?
Chiropractors treat the entire spine and the whole musculoskeletal system. This means they deal with muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and the nervous system. They use spinal manipulation in order to treat patients.
They work under the philosophy that the body can heal itself properly if the spine and the joints are properly aligned. By realigning the spine, the body can recover faster. Chiropractors also restore mobility and range of motion. They provide pain relief without prescribing painkillers—an important aspect of care nowadays, considering that there is an opioid epidemic.
Beyond the usual spinal adjustments, chiropractors may also use other techniques such as physical therapy, ultrasound therapy, and even massage, whenever necessary.
Chiropractors also concern themselves with their patients’ health and fitness. They give nutritional advice, vitamin regimens, and exercise as part of their treatment. This is why many consider chiropractic care to be holistic.
Chiropractors can also do x-rays and refer patients to other medical professionals. However, they do not prescribe medications nor do they perform surgeries. Chiropractic care is natural, safe, and painless.
Massage therapists primarily focus on the muscles. They perform one or several types of massages such as Swedish massage, sports massage or deep tissue massage.
What do they Treat?
Chiropractors, as primary healthcare providers, can treat a number of conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. Their main goal is to address subluxations in the spine, to make sure that the body is operating at its best possible level.
Massage therapists are experienced in treating muscular conditions only—and oftentimes they focus on relieving muscle pain, stiffness, and tension.
Both practices make use of hands-on treatments, and so they are often compared.
How are they Trained?
The amount of education and training required for chiropractors and massage therapists are very different. This is one of the biggest differences between the two. Chiropractors are doctors who need a four-year undergraduate education, a four-year doctorate of chiropractic program, and a license.
During their programs, chiropractors receive extensive training, after which they complete a residency program. Aspiring chiropractors then pass several rounds of boards and certification tests to obtain their license.
Massage therapists typically complete around 500 hours of training, which varies from state to state.
From this, we can conclude that massage therapists are more focused on muscles and are experts in terms of delivering hands-on care. Chiropractors have a broader scope, diagnosing various musculoskeletal issues before coming up with a proper treatment plan, and then using spinal manipulation to provide comfort.
Look for a chiropractor near you today and experience the benefits of spinal adjustments.
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