- Where and who is the best chiropractor in Wasilla?
- Is chiropractic massage therapy safe?
- What is the difference between a regular massage and chiropractic massage?
- Does Alaska have a chiropractic massage clinic in Wasilla?
- What should I know before choosing a chiropractor in Wasilla?
- Are all chiropractors in Alaska the same?
A Brief History about Chiropractic CareChiropractic care has its roots back in 1895 when Daniel David Palmer of Iowa, who was a firm believer in holistic medicine, noticed that a janitor had a vertebra in his back out of place. He questioned the janitor, named Harvey Lillard, who explained that one day his back “popped” and afterward, he found that he was partially deaf. Palmer performed what is believed to be the first chiropractic adjustment on Lillard. The following day, Lillard told Palmer that he could once more hear the “racket on the streets.” Palmer opened the first school of chiropractic a few years later. Chiropractic adjustments are not actually “cracking backs”, but work under the premise that misalignments, called subluxations, in the spine prevent the nerves from sending and receiving signals properly. The nerves of the body control everything from breathing to eyesight, hearing to the heartbeat, which makes it easy to see why the nerves need to operate at their optimum, without obstruction. After many years of discord between other medical professionals and chiropractors, a cooperation and collaborative frame of mind has been developed between the two professions, with the aim of patient care taking the main stage. Chiropractors work together with other medical professionals to provide the best possible care, regardless of who is performing the necessary tasks.
The Beginnings of Massage TherapyMassage therapy dates back even farther than chiropractic; at least as far back as 2700 BCE when the first written records were found in Egypt and China. One book, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine, is still used today as a means of teaching about what has come to be called alternative medicine. India also has an extensive history of using massage therapy, with written texts dating between 1500 and 500 BCE, however, Hindus claim they have been practicing Ayurvedic medicine since at least 3000 BCE. No matter how you slice it, massage therapy has been practiced for centuries. It was in Sweden in the early 1800’s, however, that massage therapy came into the mainstream when Dr. Per Henril Ling created what he called the Swedish Movement System or Swedish Massage. Massage therapy has gained tremendous momentum over the past century, both as a preventative practice and as a means of allowing the body to heal naturally and reduce stress. What used to be considered a therapy for professional athletes or as a pastime for the wealthy, massage therapy is routinely prescribed by physical therapists and doctors, becoming a standard method of treatment for a variety of reasons and injuries.
What is the Difference Between Regular Massage & Chiropractic Massage?While these two types use the same word (massage) and both are practiced using the hands, for the most part, they are not the same thing. Equating your average day spa massage to a chiropractic massage would be like saying a Volkswagen and a Mercedes are the same thing because both are cars. Let’s look at some major differences:
- Education and Training: Most massage therapists require about 500 hours of training, learning about the various muscles of the body and how to manipulate them, as well as massage technique. While the number of hours needed varies from state to state, consider that number when compared to a chiropractor who take a 4-year undergraduate program, then another 4-year doctorate program, along with a residency program, testing by several boards, state exams, and certification exams. Chiropractors take classes in chemistry, biology, anatomy, physics, and physiology.
- The Magnitude of Practice: Massage therapists focus is on the muscles and providing the necessary or best type of massage for the injury or comfort of their client. Chiropractors treat the spine and complete musculoskeletal system, including tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. Chiropractors are doctors who can refer patients to other health care professionals if necessary.
- Other Treatments Offered: While massage therapists can offer different types of massage and sensory related treatments (facials, essential oils, foot soaks, face masks) your chiropractor can take x-rays, use ultrasounds, low-level laser therapy, decompression systems (DRS) and more.
- Supervision: Most massage therapists work independently. Unless they are in training, therapists have no one to oversee their work. Chiropractic massage is overseen by the chiropractor, who ensures that the patient is receiving the proper care.
How to Decide Which Type of Massage You NeedThe tricky part can be deciding which type of massage you really need. For example, your lower back has been hurting off and on for a few weeks. Last weekend, while doing some light gardening, you found that you couldn’t straighten up without great difficulty. Is it just overworked muscles or did you injure your back? Is it a sprain or a slipped disc? Should you try a massage first and see if it helps, or should you see your regular doctor? Should you go to a physical therapist or see your Wasilla chiropractor? The choices can be confusing, and no one wants to waste time going from one treatment or doctor only to discover that you need to go elsewhere. Low back pain can be caused by a variety of factors, from a sprain to simple overwork to inflammation of the ligaments to a spinal misalignment. In this instance, your best bet would be to see a chiropractor. The doctor can take x-rays, do an exam, and diagnose the problem. If you need a chiropractic massage, you are already in the right place! If he should discover something else, your chiropractor will refer you to the appropriate health care specialist, but in most cases, for back, neck, shoulder, or any type of joint pain, your chiropractor can offer the right treatment, as well as oversee a chiropractic massage, all in one place.
Is Chiropractic Care and Massage Safe?Some people still believe the myth that chiropractic care “cracks” your neck or back and that it can be dangerous. Others believe stories about how chiropractic massage made their spine “loose” and their discs slipped out of place. None of these stories are true. In fact, chiropractic care and massage have one of the best safety records in the healthcare industry. For those who are concerned about the safety of chiropractic massage and adjustments, your massage therapists in Wasilla want you to know the following 5 facts.
The 5 Facts about the Safety of Chiropractic Massage
1) You Will Need More Than 1 Session and That’s OKSome people fear that multiple sessions of chiropractic massage mean that: ✓ Something is seriously wrong ✓ That it will do more harm than good ✓ That the therapist/chiropractor are just in it for the money None of the above are true, especially when dealing with a well-known, reputable Wasilla chiropractor. The actual number of chiropractic massages (and adjustments) that are needed will depend on the extent of your injury, how long you have been injured, and what you do for work or on an average day. For example, for someone who suffers from whiplash due to a car accident that happened last weekend, they might need only a few sessions to recover. A person who plays on their city football team each weekend and is repeatedly battered during games (and has been for years) might need treatment twice a month for as long as they are playing. Your chiropractor and massage therapist will determine the severity of your injuries and discuss how long they feel treatment will last. Multiple treatments are common, and you need not fear that anything is “really wrong”, but rather that you are taking the necessary steps to help heal your body, regardless of how many steps that might be.
2) What if I Get a Massage Before My Adjustment? Is that Safe?Depending on the type of injury you have suffered or what your symptoms are, it is not uncommon for a chiropractic massage to be performed before the adjustments are made. Some people mistakenly believe that a massage before an adjustment is somehow dangerous because it will make their bodies “too loose” and the spine will not stay in position or they believe that their discs will “slip out” of place because they are so relaxed. First, despite the phrase, discs do not “slip”. Between each vertebra there is a small cushion, like a pillow which is filled with a soft, jelly-like compound, to prevent bones from rubbing together or touching one another. Think of discs like tubes of toothpaste. Discs can bulge the same way toothpaste would if you pushed down in the middle, and discs can split or rupture, allowing the compound inside to be forced outside, but they don’t move and slip out of the spine. Receiving your chiropractic massage before your adjustment is common because this allows the adjustment to work better and stay in place longer. We have muscles in our backs that, when they become tight or strained, can pull the spine out of place. Therefore, many chiropractors will recommend the massage before your treatment. Relaxed muscles make chiropractic adjustments more accurate and they will last longer. In short, receiving a massage before your adjustment is not only safe, it is completely normal. You have nothing to worry about.
3) Why Do I Get the Massage After My Adjustment?When you receive your massage will vary depending on several factors: ✓ How often do you see the chiropractor? ✓ What is your lifestyle? Active? Sedentary? Weekend warrior? ✓ Are you currently healing from an injury? ✓ Are your visits for prevention and maintenance? People who see their chiropractor on a regular basis and are not currently injured or trying to heal an injury, often do better with a massage after their adjustment. Once people recognize the benefits of chiropractic adjustments and see their doctor regularly, their visits are considered a preventative or a proactive health measure. Those who do not have high-stress jobs or participate in strenuous sports activities will find that a massage after the adjustment will benefit them by allowing the adjustments that were just made to stay in place longer. Receiving a massage after adjustments for some clients is preferable as it allows them to return to their lives with a relaxed feeling of contentment, knowing that everything is aligned and working properly. Your chiropractor will determine when the best time for you to receive a massage will be. If you have questions about why they chose to have the massage after your adjustment, you can ask them for the details regarding your case.
4) If My Massage Hurts Are They Doing Something Wrong?This is a multi-faceted question that is not easily answered because the word “pain” means different things to different people. Pain tolerance varies tremendously from person to person, making “painful” a word that is hard to pinpoint. Many people would say that, especially when you are injured or if your muscles are very tight, a chiropractic massage “hurts so good.” There is a type of pain that happens when massaging tight muscles, but it isn’t painful to the point that you cry out or you tense your muscles even more, trying to tough it out. This “good” type of pain isn’t actually painful but might be better described as “an intense sensation resulting in relief.” Real pain is fairly obvious. If it is bringing tears to your eyes, if you think you can’t take it another minute, or if you tense up in anticipation of pain, then it’s too much. If you believe your massage therapist is being too rough and you are feeling pain, you must speak up! While most therapists can read your body language, they can’t always read your mind. You can always speak to your chiropractor and/or massage therapist if you feel that your massage is too brutal or too harsh. Occasionally, deep tissue massages, which are very intense, are necessary to help the body heal. Never be afraid to speak up and tell your chiropractor or massage therapist how you feel about your treatment.
5) How Will I Know if The Massage Was Successful?Massage therapy will produce several beneficial aspects to your life. This will vary from person to person, of course, but some of the benefits you might notice are: ✓ A reduction in stress and anxiety ✓ Relief from back pain ✓ Relief from other types of pain, including shoulder, neck, or leg pain ✓ A reduction in or elimination of headaches ✓ Improvement in mood, with fewer episodes of depression ✓ Lower blood pressure ✓ Improved sleep Of course, not all the above will apply to every person, but everyone seems to notice some benefit from chiropractic massage. This isn’t just wishful thinking. There are numerous studies showing the benefits of massage therapy. You can read many of these studies here. One study in 2007 even found that cancer patients who received massage therapy had an improved quality of life, better coping skills, and a reduction of symptoms. Chiropractic massage can improve blood circulation in the body, including the brain, which interrupts stress and offers tremendous benefit for both mind and body alike. Everyone can benefit from massage therapy and chiropractic massage is the best way to prevent injuries as well as help the body heal from current injuries or even injuries that were never properly addressed in the past. Chiropractic massage is 100% safe and effective. Just ask anyone who has been on the receiving end. Know someone who could benefit from this article? Feel free to share it with them!
About the Author
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using services designed to help give long-lasting relief.
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe, Organic Facts, and Thrive Global. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.