Help for Pain Relief – Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, or Self-Care?

Help for Pain Relief – Professional and Self-care Options

Pain Relief Methods…

We all experience pain from time to time. “Nociception” is our pain sensor, and we have two systems of pain sensors in our body. One detects pain from external sources like a bee sting, and one identifies internal pain like a sore muscle. It’s very easy to reach for a pill bottle to manage internal pain. Still, often this provides only short-term relief, masking the pain, and not addressing the underlying cause.

In the case of muscle or joint soreness, some professionals practice a variety of pain relief methods. Two of the most popular are chiropractors and massage therapists. When experiencing sudden onset acute pain or nagging on-going issues, an office visit to one of these professionals is often the first step toward relief.

What is Chiropractic Care?

Help for Pain Relief – Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, or Self-Care?, back being worked on by chiropractor
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Chiropractic is a health-care profession that focuses on the structure of the body, particularly the spine and joints, and their connection to the nervous system. Chiropractors manipulate the body’s skeleton to relieve pain and help the body heal itself. Chiropractors may also utilize various soft tissue therapies to improve the function of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joint capsules. These often include Active Release Technique (ART) and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization like Graston and cupping.

Chiropractors commonly prescribe specific strengthening and therapeutic stretching exercises to their patients. These exercises can help decrease pain, prevent muscle deterioration, promote joint health, and increase stability and range of motion, protecting against new or recurring injuries. The goals of every chiropractor are to provide pain relief and help patients manage their condition at home.

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy treats soft tissue pain by manipulating a patient’s muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. Therapists use their hands, and potentially other tools, to find and release trigger points that are either sore in and of themselves or are referring pain to other areas of the body.

Help for Pain Relief – Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, or Self-Care?, massage therapy
Photo by cottonbro

At the beginning of an office visit, the therapist will assess a patient’s pain and then determine the root cause. As the massage progresses, various techniques are applied to restore proper function to the soft tissue, providing pain relief.

Like chiropractors, massage therapists will often recommend techniques to be used at home to provide on-going maintenance and hopefully prevent further issues.  

What Self-Care Options Do I Have at Home?

Either before or after a visit to a professional’s office, you can utilize a wide variety of self-help methods to manage and relieve pain on your own.

  1. Stretching – anything from basic gentle movements to yoga and tai chi to full-body range-of-motion work
  2. Self-massage and myofascial release with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, voodoo floss, or runner’s “stick”
  3. Mobility work
  4. Apply heat to relax sore muscles
  5. Apply ice to decrease pain from trauma and reduce inflammation
  6. Epsom salt is a natural muscle relaxant – use it in a bath
  7. Exercise to release natural endorphins to block pain signals
Help for Pain Relief – Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, or Self-Care?, stretching on the floor in gym
Photo by Jonathan Borba

Traditional doctors will quickly prescribe medication to help patients manage the pain instead of addressing the root cause of that pain. Rather than taking the easy fix, explore professional and self-care methods to alleviate your pain and potentially prevent new pain from occurring. Create your personal pain prescription. To quote Kelly Starrett, “All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.”

Read On for Back Pain…

Getting through the day with back pain can be difficult. But a good night’s sleep can be even harder to get. It may be difficult to find a comfortable position and even when you do, you wake up with more pain than before. Sleep is essential for your overall health as it allows our bodies to recover and repair. If you enjoyed reading this article, continue reading it at 5 Ways To A Better Night’s Rest When Experiencing Back Pain

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