If you’re human, you know what neck pain feels like – because it’s one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders under the sun. About 20-30% of us, however, will actually feel it so acutely or that we’ll seek professional help. If you’re in that category, it’s only natural to consider whether you need a chiropractor or just a massage for your neck pain.
Chiropractor or massage for neck pain?
How’s that neck feeling? Perhaps you just fell asleep in an uncomfortable position and it’s gone stiff overnight. Or maybe that neck pain has been caused by years of bad posture, a simple muscle strain, a degenerative condition, a compressed nerve – or something else entirely.
Whichever is true for you, you have several options on the menu:
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Rest and at-home ice/heat therapy
- Physical therapy exercises
- Medical consultation
- Massage therapy or chiropractic care.
The reason we’ve grouped the last two together is because they both can be highly effective treatments for neck pain of one type or another. Massage focuses on relaxation and muscle tension relief, while chiropractic care involves skilful spinal adjustments aimed at improving alignment.
Do you really need a chiropractor for stiff neck?
So how do you know when you should be booking an appointment at your local massage specialist, or start looking into finding a great chiropractor for neck pain? The answer? Here’s how to figure it all out:
1. How’s your pain?
Whether you need a quick neck pain massage or a chiropractor depends first of all on the severity and persistence of your neck pain. A massage can suffice in many cases, especially in the case of mild discomfort from muscle tension. But for more comprehensive relief and long-term improvement, or if the pain is in the severe or chronic categories, a chiropractic assessment is something to look into.
2. What are your symptoms?
If your symptoms have moved in the area of severely restricted movement, numbness or headaches, this indicates the involvement of the nerves. In that case, chiropractic care can be helpful.
3. What’s your medical history?
Do you have any pre-existing conditions or past injuries? Remember, massage therapists are not necessarily trained to diagnose and manage musculoskeletal issues – but chiropractors are! For specific medical history-related concerns, step your treatment up a notch.
4. Consider your personal comfort
Remember, manual adjustments by chiropractors involve some level of discomfort due to joint manipulation. If you’re squeamish about this from the outset, it might be a good idea to try a gentle massage first.
5. What are your treatment goals?
Are you just seeking some immediate relief from muscle tension? In that case, a great massage can be great. But if your concerns have moved into the zone of long-time spinal and overall health and alignment, start looking around for a good local chiropractor.
6. Ask the experts
The easiest way to get a very informed opinion or two about what you need for your situation is – thankfully – easy! Get in touch with a qualified massage therapist and a chiropractor, and describe what you’re going through. They’ll know what to do next.
7. Give it a try
While you’re in touch with those massage and chiro specialists, ask them if it’s worth giving their services a whirl. That’s because a massage is a very low risk and not likely to cause any serious additional problems. A consultation with a chiropractor, meanwhile, will give you a great idea about whether adjustments will alleviate your pain.
8. Tend towards a holistic approach
Do you tend towards a comprehensive, whole-body approach to healing? If so, you’re a believer in not just symptomatic relief but enhanced overall wellness. In case of neck pain, chiropractic care will seek to enhance your overall wellness by focusing on the spine’s alignment and its impact on the nervous system. If you’re looking solely for immediate sensory well-being, a decent massage is worth a try.
Need to find a great neck pain chiropractor?
Are you going down the chiro road? Good news: it’s easy to take the next step. It’s just a matter of scheduling an initial consultation with one of our fully-qualified and always-friendly chiropractors to assess your situation and come up with the perfect and totally personalised treatment plan.
If you’re seeking expert chiropractic care in the North Shore area and beyond, Longueville Road Chiropractic Centre is a trusted destination offering specialised chiropractic services with that extra touch. Get in touch with LRCC today and we’ll work through that neck pain together.