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Question: I suffer with tension in my back and neck

Asked by lomi-lomi 5 years ago

14 answers

and try and go for a massage every month but how do I know if I should be seeing a Osteopath or Chiropractor?

Therapeutic Massage, Chiropractic, Sports Massage, Osteopathy, Deep Tissue Massage

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Can you help out?

Best answer

Top Answer – As rated by the community

5 years ago

In otherwise healthy individuals, myofascial (muscles and tissue) pain is usually the result of a combination of factors. From postural habits to emotional tension and work related influences, a host of vectors will always “push and pull”, creating so called “trigger points”, highly sensitive and painful areas in the muscles. Deep Tissue Massage is a good way to deactivate them and alleviate the symptoms.

What you need:
Going to a generic massage “once every month” won’t solve your problem. You have to have several Deep Tissue Massage sessions with a therapist trained in Trigger Points Therapy.
How many? Although immediate improvements have always been reported, no professional therapist will tell you how many sessions will be needed, as each body has its own healing pattern. First session should be a comprehensive consultation and last around 90mins. From there on, just give feedback and see if the symptoms change. As a rule of thumb, if after three sessions there is no change, then you either have the wrong therapist or you need indeed referral to a different therapy specialist.

What to ask:
If the therapist has Deep Tissue training, if he is conversant with Trigger Points Techniques, if he or she has any palpation skills (essential for finding these tensed areas)

For your info:
The main muscles involved are: Back Pain - trapezius, erector spinae, rhomboids, serratus group and sometimes latissimus dorsi. For lumbar pain there are others but from your message I gather that you are talking more about the superior back. Neck Pain – Levator Scapulae, Splenius Cervicis, Semispinalis and of course, the mother of all headaches, SCM (Sternocleidomastoid)

A word of caution: Massage is able to alleviate the symptoms and bring back the balance in your affected myofascial area. However, without changes in your lifestyle, the problems will come back, so a long-lasting solution is always holistic. Check and improve your posture (see a specialist for that) and learn to relax and meditate. The list is not exhaustive but is a good place to start. Ah, and have some fun, laugh every day and the rest…, you know already …

Holistic Practitioner

Sources: Thomas W. Myers -"Anatomy Trains"-
Leon Chaitow - "Palpation and Assessment Skills" , "A Massage Therapist's Guide to Understanding, Locating and Treating Myofascial Trigger Points"

Answer Comments

ASenseofWellness-Sondra 5 years ago

I agree, but instead of trying a deep tissue session, I'd opt for a myofasical release session and when trigger points present themselves the therapist can release them. When the connective tissue in the body is correctly aligned then the bones of the skeletal system can be in a better position as well. This work is great at providing longer lasting results than just a general massage session. But it is correct that without changes in your lifestyle, the pain will keep coming back. Doing gentle stretches everyday will help enhance the massage benefits.

Other answers (13)

tink10 5 years ago

If your back pain is not alleviated after your massage and is still causing you discomfort I would look into your posture and work out if everything was as it should be, I would suggest some solutions to help you there, and if after working on posture you are still in pain I would refer you to your doctor.

Lauren30 5 years ago

If you dont seem to be getting results from your monthly massage, you have to ask several questions. Do you seem to be doing something in your everyday life that is causing your muscles to feel imbalanced - ie: watch your posture at work, home, while youre doing everyday avtivities . Do you work out ? Are you over-straining your muscles in your workouts or sports acitivities? Notice when you start to feel tension again. Stretching is really important to prevent injuries, even if you dont workout. Ask, your therapist, what type of stretches you might need. Depending on why you are consulting on another professional will determine what you need to do next.
Chiropractors adjust the spine and joints in a very different way than Osteopaths. DO's are still more oriented towards traditional medicinal therapies , if you see a D.O. find one that specializes in spinal manipulations, otherwise they will most likely prescribe drugs for whatever your problem is. I have worked with both - D.C. and for an Osteopathic Hospital in Ohio.

Also, you might try finding a LMT who specializes in NMT - Neuromuscular Therapy.. Deep Tissue is not NMT - there is a big difference. NMT really adresses the source of the problems. You might try another therapist first to find if you get longer lasting results before deciding on the expense of seeing a D.O. or D.C.

harmonymaros 5 years ago

I must see your back and then I tell you. I am expert on the spine and can help you

Answer Comments

5 years ago

Sorry, what credentials qualify you as an "expert" on the spine?

Registrdluzniku 5 years ago

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Registrdluzniku 5 years ago

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the-chattanoogan-spa 5 years ago

Experienced therapists that have been in the business for a while (5 or more years) and have certifications in skeletal or allignment massage may be able to tell you if you need to see a specialist but most therapists probably would not suggest this unless they're very sure.

If you're going every month and still experiencing pain, talk with your doctor and get their advice on going to a specialist.

Head2Toes 5 years ago

Everyone elses answers were quiet comprehensive, but to expand on that just a little bit -
I would agree that you may most likely need assistance outside the realm of just the "basic" massage, whether it be a chiropractor or otherwise. However, for an individual that is in chronic pain (even if not intense), I would say once a month is inadequate for immediate results. As another person had mentioned in their post, posture can play a huge role, as well as lifestyle (to include occupation i.e. if you are at the computer all day, or a waitress, etc).

KimberlyMathews 5 years ago

I always say checking in with your primary doctor or care provider first is always a good idea. In general they tend to know your past medical history and they will know if there are any contraindications to any type of healing. After that it depends.
If you’re hoping for your health insurance will help out with the bill I would check with insurance to see what they cover, how much, and how many of it they cover. Then most people need to get authorization from their primary care provider for the treatment.
If insurance is not a factor to your decision then what I would do is talk to both types of specialists about what is going on with the body and what kind of results I were looking for. Individual health workers also have a little bit different style so I would also talk to multiple people in each field.
It sounds like your already taking steps to supporting your body. Good for you. I was always taught monthly massages are wonderful for helping to maintain health and weekly massages help improve it. Thank you very much for the question. I hope your quest to optimal health is fruitful. Good luck.

JLWmassage 5 years ago

I would first need to know about the type of pain you are feeling? Burning pain, with the muscle maybe feeling tired wiuld leave me to think that it is a soft tissue issue. Which a good MT can more than help you with. But if you are feeling a burning electric pain I would refer you out to a chrio bc that would lead me to believe that your are out of adjustment and the bones are pinching on a nerve. Sometimes massage can help with this type of pain but it is not going to correct the problem

AndrewWolfeLMP 5 years ago

Neck and back tension are generalized symtoms. How long have you had the condition? When did it first start? Was it brought on my a significant event or trauma in your life? Is there other symtoms associated with the tension?

vickiraven 5 years ago

I would agree there are probably multiple factors. If you have tried massage and have recurring symptoms I would recommend seeing a chiropractor. They can xray your neck and check whether you have an underlying skeletal problem. But also think very hard about your posture and actions and check whether you habitually do anything that creates adverse tension in any set of muscles.
Vicki Raven

backcareclinic 5 years ago

Why not help out and give your answer to the question?Osteopaths

backcareclinic 5 years ago

I am an osteopath, who also uses a powered spinal mobiliser, Theraflex. A massage is always nice and feels good but does not correct a spine if you are having problems with stiffness, pain or postural problems. We also use a SpinalMouse for diagnostic purposes to assess the spine for posture, flexibility and core muscle strength and also measure changes in our treatment. Although I may use massage as part of a treatment, I never discourage patients from having one on a regular basis, but if it used for pain and stiffness it may not correct the problem, which may be why you are attending so frequently.

Sources: http://www.backcare.org, http://www.theraflex.info, http://www.idiag.ch

andys 5 years ago

A Osteopath or Chiropractor will both take a full consultation from you to see if they can help, both deal with bone problems and a lot more.I would see one of these first for a course of treatments if required and then return to my regular massage to help keep the tension away. If its a bone problem or nerve this has to be treated first and then the massage to keep the muscles relaxed. See which one gives the best results for your condition.If in pain after regular massage treatments then you no you need to look for more specialist treatments to help you.

rickardm 5 years ago

the massage therapist that you are seeing should be able to help direct you better. when giving a deep tissue massage you feel attachments and bone allignment. if it is just misalligment then a chiroprator would be fine, if however there is bulging or severe inflamation then I would seek an Osteopath. If this is chronic life not being able to live pain seek a Dr. as soon as you can. Becareful what the diagnosis is though as most Dr's would like to cut open and fill you with pain meds before asking how you just might beable to do certain streches and excercise to relieve pain. Good Luck and I hope that you feel better!

Answer Comments

5 years ago

"You feel attachments and bone alignment???" That is so vague (and sorry, weird...) Suggesting and/or implying that "most doctors" are going to cut someone open willy-nilly is not only irresponsible advice, but WAY outside of your scope of knowledge and practice. At first I thought that perhaps you were just not gifted at grammar, but the more I read on, I realized that you just don't know what you are talking about.

scott39 5 years ago

have a look at your breathing pattern it could be that can may other see chek practitioner we over 140 assment of you body so we can see were it coming from the key is look at it all you work how you sit stan and move and what you eat

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