Should I see a Chiropractor or a Massage Therapist for Back Pain

Back pain can be debilitating. Whether it’s lower back pain, upper back pain (around the back of your shoulders) or right in the center, you are left unable to stand up straight without hurting. You also might not be able to sit comfortably, and even lying in bed can be agonizing.

If you go to a doctor or the emergency room for your back pain, you are most likely going to walk out with prescriptions for muscle relaxers and pain killers. However, these tend to mask the problem by dulling the pain, instead of getting to the root of the issue and actually finding a solution. This is where chiropractors and massage therapists come in.

So, When Should You Go to a Chiropractor?

If your pain is caused by a strained ligament, poor posture, or something more “mechanical” in nature. Repeating the same motions over and over, like lifting with your back instead of your knees, for example, is an ingrained habit that can cause your back to hurt by pulling muscles, joints, and more out of alignment. A chiropractor can solve the problem by re-aligning what is out of place . He or she will also give you a series of exercises to do at home to help you break bad habits and strengthen your muscles. These exercises will help reduce the possibility of getting re-injured.

And What About a Massage Therapist?

If the root of your pain is muscular in nature, like a muscle spasm, an overworked muscle, or similar problem, then your issue can be helped by massage therapy. The therapist will loosen your muscles and increase the blood flow. The increased blood flow helps heal them faster, and the loosening can stop a muscle spam practically in its tracks.


  • by
    Dr. Chris S. Gibson

    This is a very helpful and direct to the point article. When back pain strikes, you can go for many confusing options. If a doctor would be the choice, you will likely be showered with prescriptions. When it comes to back pain, there are two common solutions: massage therapy or chiropractic care.

    If you find out that there is some misalignment in your back probably because of strained ligament, poor posture or any spine issue, you should seek the help of a Chiropractor.
    On the other hand, a massage therapist can help you if the cause of your back pain is simply muscle spasm, tired muscles or any other similar problems.
    As a Chiropractor for many years, you really don’t have to try them both. Just learn to identify your condition so you can get the best solution.

    • by
      Ashley Todd

      I agree, I am glad you enjoyed the article.

      Dr. Todd

  • by
    Scarlett O’Hara

    Hello. I am a 38 years old female and just started exercising regularly. Nothing too intense, just Pure Barr and some ab work. I have been doing this for the past two to three months and have had a total of 3-4 painful knots develop in my upper back (always on the right side) between the shoulder blades. The knot can be clearly felt, can happen in a second when I twist or move a certain way. Once, I woke up in the middle of the night to change positions and I couldn’t life my head I was in so much pain. I was wondering if this is a chiropractic sort of situation. Is this an indication that my back muscles are out of alignment? Thanks!

    • by

      HI Scarlett,
      This is something that we fix all the time. We need an assessment to figure it out actually but sounds like something we see daily.

      Hope this helps

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