Massage Therapy vs. Physical Therapy

Brianna Clark
September 1, 2015

Massage Therapy vs. Physical Therapy

Massage therapy vs. physical therapy -- Have you ever wondered which route to pursue when treating pain? What is the difference between them? Which will have a greater affect on how you are feeling? Let’s take a closer look…

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a manual therapy that focuses on muscles, tendons and fascia by applying different techniques such as deep stroking, pulling, friction and wringing. Massage therapists work to elongate muscle tissue, release tight muscle fibers and trigger points, push oxygenated blood into muscle tissue and improve lymphatic drainage. In turn, muscle contractibility, tone and circulation are improved, pain is reduced and range of motion improves. Massage therapy is utilized to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. It speeds recovery time and increases the range of motion joints are capable of but are not able to due to shortened muscles.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy, while attempting to gain the same outcome, is delivered in a different way. Common therapies experienced in a physical therapy setting include electric stem, ultrasound, stretching and strengthening exercises, TENS stimulation and subjecting soft tissue to vibration.

Which Is Better for Treating Pain?

Results were assessed using three different measures: the Numerical Rating Scale for pain, the Oswestry Disability Scale and the Schober range of motion test. After the ten treatments both groups showed improvements in all three areas HOWEVER, the group that received massage therapy reported a significant decrease in pain and increased function over the group that received physical therapy. Reports of pain in the massage group using the NRS dropped from 6 to 1.8 out of 10.

The Key Is Consistency

Remaining consistent in any treatment is key to achieving significant results. With regular massage therapy treatments, pain and dysfunction can be dramatically reduced in any area of the body. One session of massage will not fix all your ailments. If you have maintained poor posture for 10 years, it cannot be fixed in one hour. Massage therapy proves its worth when utilized regularly. If you are treating a specific injury or issue, it will require a level of frequency that varies among person to person. In the beginning it will be, say, weekly and as the muscle tissue begins to heal, the frequency may lessen to monthly appointments

Please contact me with any questions or if you are ready to schedule an appointment, you may schedule online here.

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