Chiro, physio or massage?

“I would highly recommend Dr. Neely. I have suffered low back pain and sciatica since at least 2012, if not earlier. My low back pain caused hip and knee problems, and I was beginning to feel helpless. I had tried every wellness clinic imaginable from musculoskeletal specialists, physio, athletic therapists, and massage therapists with little to no results. After only a few sessions with Dr. Neely I was already feeling better than I had in years. My headaches/migraines have gone away as well. Dr. Neely genuinely cares about your recovery and overall health. He was the first person I had seen who seemed to genuinely want to help, and took my pain seriously. I can’t thank him enough!”

Lisa G

Chiropractor, physio or massage…What’s right for you?

By Dr. Laina Shulman

I’m asked this question a great deal and will answer it keeping in mind that there are many unique scopes of practice within each profession, (and as a chiropractor who has spent 25 years working with many health practitioners).  The goal is always maximum healing for the patient.

The foundation of the professions:

Chiropractors focus on the alignment of the spine and proper functioning of the nerves. When areas of the spine are out of alignment, they interfere with the proper functioning of the nerves, leading to tension, pain and many health conditions. Chiropractors remove this stress through gentle chiropractic adjustments allowing the body to heal and release tension without the use of drugs or surgery.

Physiotherapists deal with the strength and flexibility of the ligaments and muscles.
Physiotherapists frequently use modalities such as ultrasound and strengthening/stretching techniques.

Massage therapists focus on the amount of tension in the muscles and fascia of the body.
Massages can be used for relaxation purposes of to decrease muscle tension and improve lymphatic drainage.


Years of education:

7 years after high school

5 years after high school

Massage therapist:
2 years after high school

Chiropractic is the largest natural
health profession in the world

Their extensive knowledge of
healing and diagnosis provides chiropractors with the title doctor.

How they work together (in our office):

Our doctors take the time to ensure that patients understand the cause of their symptoms and the recommended course of action. If the doctor determines that he/she is not a chiropractic case they’re referred to the appropriate health practitioner that day. If it’s determined that it is a chiropractic case the doctor will recommend the appropriate course of care.

In some cases,  working with other health practitioners helps symptoms resolve most quickly. For example: When the spine is out of alignment the body naturally tightens the surrounding muscles. This is the body’s own defense mechanism guarding the area. This is why some patients report that no matter how much they stretch or massage muscles tighten up again very quickly. The muscles have been protecting an underlying issue in the spine.

As the spine is aligned the muscles naturally begin to relax. New patients are amazed at how quickly their bodies “let go”. Patients are given supportive stretches/exercises for maximum results. In some cases the long term “muscle memory” continues to tense muscles. In this case we work in conjunction with a massage therapist to ensure tension is eliminated, and healing occurs as quickly as possible. 

In the same way, if ligament or other soft tissue strains, sprains or imbalances hinder recovery we refer a patient for physiotherapy in order to augment healing.

As chiropractors it’s our role to ensure that the nerves are functioning optimally. If a nerve is being pinched, the area of the body it controls (organ, muscle or joint) cannot heal until the nerve pressure is released. Nerves coordinate and control the healing of the body.

It is our office policy to communicate with the health professionals we refer to on a regular basis and ensure that we are all working together towards clear objectives… the patient’s healing.

Click here to make an appointment with one of our chiropractors and determine what is best for you.