Adjustment or Massage?

Updated on February 08, 2011
F.M. asks from Lincoln, NE
16 answers

Hi moms,
Got a question. I can't tell if i need an adjustment from the chiropractor or a deep tissue massage? My upper back, neck and shoulder area feels really stressed, and i have been under a lot of stress lately, so i can't decide if i should make an appointment with the chiro or massage therapist?
I don't want to spend any more money than i have too. What would you suggest?

ps. my back doesn't hurt or anything, it just feels tight.

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So What Happened?

OK, so it sounds like a deep tissue massage is what i need, which i have never had done before. I get massages frequently, but do not care for the deep pressure, until now. Looks like i might have to suck this one up and go with it. i know that my therapist always checks in with me during the massage and if the pressure gets to be to much for me, all i have to do is tell her.
I have never been to the chiro, but i have had plenty of people tell me it just made their body feel worse after a treatment.
thanks ladies!

Featured Answers



answers from Tallahassee on

You very well may need a deep tissue massage but I just wanted to say my chiropractor helps me more than anything else when I have back/shoulder/neck pain. I first started going to see him when I was pregnant on the advice of my OB/GYN. I was having terrible lower back pain and I had gotten a few massages with absolutely no results. I did have to go to the chiropractor several times because my back was in worse shape than I thought. After my very first adjustment I was in even more pain but I decided to keep going and eventually I felt tremendously better (to the point that I wished I would have gone to see him several years ago).

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answers from Charlotte on

I would do the deep tissue massage along with some ibruprophen before going with an adjustment. The adjustment doesn't help the muscles. If it's just muscular, you need the massage more.


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answers from Chicago on

A *good* chiropractor should have a good napropath on staff to loosen you up first, prior to your adjustment.

Depending on your insurance, it may be covered.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Massage. I don't believe you can just "adust" your spine.... but I will save my chiropractor gripes for another time. Sounds like you really need a good, relaxing massage. To save money, how about asking you hubby to do it?

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answers from Cleveland on

Being out of alignment can cause the muscle strain and tension. I would go see a Chiropractor first and see how you feel. It will be cheaper then the massage. If you then feel like you still need the massage then go that route. You may even be able to find a chiro that works with a massage therapist (mine does) and that should also be cheaper then going to a spa for a DT massage.

I used to work for a chiropractor and have seen the good it does. A person will often feel sore after an adjustment because the muscles got use to being pulled out of place by the misaligned spine. It is normal for a little inflammation to occur and most chiros will tell you this and suggest putting ice on your back to help. If you are really out of alignment then more than one session is necessary to get everything to stay in place. It's also good to get monthly adjustments if you can afford it (a lot of health insurance plans cover chiro so you may be able to go a lot more often then you realize).

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answers from Eugene on

Yoga classes and do yoga 5 days a week. That'll take the stress away.

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answers from Chicago on

well. my cousin was accidentally killed by a chiropractor during a neck adjustment, so i'd go for the massage.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I'd say Massage. But either one would probably help you a lot.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I always do both, massage first then adjustment. Sometimes during the course of chiropractic treatment it does feel worse before it gets better. I always ice afterward. But typically they go hand in hand, if the muscles are tight they can hold the spine in an improper position, causing nerve damage if not fixed, and if the spine is out of alignment it can cause muscle spasm or tension.

Added: I'm sorry to the woman whose relative died after being adjusted, but the odds of that happening to just anyone are something like 1 in several hundred thousand, where as something more like 1 in 50 die daily from drug errors by physicians. Chiropractic is very, very safe!

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answers from Baton Rouge on

My experience with chiropractors was that I ended up in more pain than before went, so I won't let another one ever touch me.

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answers from St. Louis on

I hold all of my stress in my neck and shoulder area. I do the following and it helps, but only when you do it frequently....

1) exercise - good cardio like running or zumba
2) deep tissue massage
3) good posture, esp if you sit at a desk for 9 hours a day like I do
4) hot baths or a hot tub soak
5) glass of red wine (this goes great with the bath)

Honestly, a massage will help so much. I wouldn't make it without my massage therapist! In fact, I am going to call her right now.




answers from Detroit on

I would see a rolfer they do really deep tissue releas. It si a little painful but
massage does not go as deep.


answers from Asheville on

I would normally say chiropractor, but as you have no pain it is probably not a misalignment, just muscle tension. I vote deep tissue, rolfing, or Bowen therapy (sort of a combo of massage and acupressure)



answers from Chicago on

Busy Mom I have the same probelm...Adjustments ok. BUT I HIGHLY RECOMMEND A DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE! YOU may have to go three or 4 times at once a week but you will sure feel better...I don't know if you have a massage envy but they are affordable...TRUST ME I know...Got an appointment this week..Hope you feel better.



answers from Chicago on

Just taking this from another angle - what kind of work do you do? Do you spend a lot of time at a computer or doing work that has your shoulders rounded or hunches forward? This is really common now since people spend a lot of time working on computers, working on their iPhone or Blackberry, etc.

You might want to do simple home exercises that help "open up" the chest and strengthen the upper back, scapulation, rear deltoid muscles. Do a Google search for "wall slide exercises". Basically you want to be standing and press your back against the wall. Bend your arms at the elbow 90 degrees (you will look like a football goal post) with your knuckles and nails in contact with the wall. Slowly slide your arms up so they are straight, but keep everything in contact with the arm - back, shoulders, arms, hands. Pause when your arms are straight and return to 'goal post' position). Do 2 sets of 10 every other day.

Other things you could try are Y-T-W-L-I exercises. Lie face down on the floor. Extend your arms to make the 'letter' and then slowly and gently lift and lower. Do 2 sets of 10 reps for each letter every other day.

These exercises are not difficult to do and work on strengthening the muscles of the shoulder and upper back so that they can be better stabilizers and perhaps take some of the stress and strain off of your problem areas. Finally, when sitting pay attention to your posture. Imagine as if a cable were attached to your breastbone and there is tension in the cable, pulling your chest forward and dropping your shoulders down and back. If that is uncomfortable, just hold that position for 10 seconds and rest 10 seconds as much as you can. Good luck!

Oh...and get the massage - they're HEAVENLY!



answers from Chicago on

hot bath in epsom salt, read the label for measurements & other was to use it too.

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