Massage Before or After Chiropractic?

{For several years, Bill hosted "Massage Moment", a radio spot nestled within Lionville Natural Pharmacy owner Ben Briggs' Saturday morning radio show, Health Focus on WCOJ. These 3-to-4-minute gems covered topics ranging from stress to common bio-mechanical injuries, to answering questions such as 'should I get massage before or after chiropractic?'}

Listen to the audio here:


Today's question is: "Is it better to get a massage before or after my visit to the chiropractor?"

Well, some of that depends on your chiropractor. Or more specifically, what kind of chiropractor you go to...

You see, generally speaking, it's better to get a massage prior to a chiropractic adjustment. This allows the soft tissues, like muscle, tendons, ligaments, and fascia, to loosen up and relax, making it easier for the chiropractor to adjust the spine.

Don't forget, the vertebrae of the spine aren't just freestanding. They are connected to a whole series of muscles and ligaments that help keep them in place. The multifidus and the rotatares muscles connect each vertebra like a small truss system. The erector spinae muscles run the full length of the spine, keeping the spine erect, just as their Latin name implies. The trapezius and rhomboids also have attachments to the spine.

So, you can see that if any of these muscles are 'locked down', it will be harder for the chiropractor to adjust you. On the other hand, get the back muscles relaxed and loose, and things slip back into alignment much easier.

But, having said that, sometimes it's better to get a massage after a chiropractic adjustment, especially if your chiropractor is a little ... shall we say .... rough!

I mean, let's face it - there are chiropractors whose touch is anything but gentle. They grab and twist and bend and yank, making things pop that you didn't even know you had! And while it is good to realign the body's skeletal structures, the trauma they create in the process can cause the attached muscles to spasm, causing a rebound effect.

And that's not good.

A spasm in, let's say, the rhomboids, can pull a freshly adjusted cervical vertebra right back out of alignment .. sometimes even worse than before the adjustment, which is not only uncomfortable, but a waste of your money!

(So, for this reason, i try to discourage my clients from using chiropractors that are too rough. There is just no reason for subjecting the body to that much concentrated force.)

But, if that's the kind of chiropractor you go to, and are content with results he or she gives you, then a massage afterward is not a bad idea. Getting muscles that have just been traumatized to open up and relax will get you more bang for your buck, ' chiropractially' speaking. The important thing is to find which combination works best for you.

Obviously, you'll want to stay away from deep work right after an adjustment. Broad-based, steady pressure would be the way to go, moving slowly up and down both sides of the spine.

So, whether before or after ... by combining massage with your chiropractic adjustments, you are now taking care of the full structure, which, in my mind, is a more complete way of dealing with an injury.

Until we meet again by way of radio, this is Bill Bryan, reminding you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made!

{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: }