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to ask about massage, chiro & osteo?

(21 Posts)
GrendelsAunty Tue 07-Feb-17 09:37:46

Which do I need? And what's the difference? I've been for a back massage with a proper sports massage/physio person, who helped a bit but said that there's a knot in the muscles of my back that she'll never completely get rid of, no matter how often I go. Will a chiro be able to get rid of it? What does a chiro actually do and how is it different to a massage?
And then what do osteopaths do?

givemushypeasachance Tue 07-Feb-17 09:42:57



blueskyinmarch Tue 07-Feb-17 09:48:27

I have been to both. In my experience chiropractors do short appointment and focus on short sharp manipulations. They use special tables to enable them to do this. My osteopath uses a mix of manipulation, massage and also acupuncture if required. They are always 45 minute appointments. The osteo helped my back pain more than the chiro.

GrendelsAunty Tue 07-Feb-17 09:49:24

Peas, they just look the same to me. They both just massage your back a bit......

GrendelsAunty Tue 07-Feb-17 09:50:35

I should clarify - I don't have a medical condition, just lots of aches & pains, loss of flexibility etc.

aginghippy Tue 07-Feb-17 10:01:04

Chiropractors focus on manipulating the spine. As pp said they are very 'short sharp' movements. Massage is a lot more gentle.

An osteopath would not necessarily manipulate the spine. I went to see one about knee pain and she mainly focused on my hip and leg.

Blueroses99 Tue 07-Feb-17 10:08:47

The treatment may be very similar but the philosophy behind each is different - chiropractors focus on spine and joints, osteopaths are more concerned with the whole body.

I have been seeing a chiropractor for a few years. I have scoliosis (curved spine) which makes me susceptible to other niggles in the neck/shoulder or hip from time to time. Once a course of treatment is complete, if I don't keep up my maintenance appointments (every 4-8 weeks), I'm back in there for more treatment (I have learnt my lesson now blush). My pain is much less frequent and intense than before I saw a chiropractor - back then I used to just book a massage and while it was relaxing, it didn't actually come close to helping the pain. Deep tissue massage got a bit closer but not far enough.

My chiropractor 'clicks' me back into place but also does massage and acupuncture if needed. He's helped a lot through my pregnancies as my scoliosis affects my balance and posture. Might not work for everyone but it is the one thing I know that works for me.

loobyloo1234 Tue 07-Feb-17 10:11:08

Chiro for me manage you for short term pain - a quick fix

Physio - much more long term and concentrated on fixing you properly

I wasted so much money on a Chiro I could cry but hey ho. Osteo I have no experience of but I think they do a mixture of both from what I know

BurntBaconQuiche Tue 07-Feb-17 10:11:56

I would never, ever go to a chiropractor. They focus on manipulating the spine and joints and have caused real harm to patients. Their cualifications are not complete at all.

I have issues with my right shoulder and my quadratus lumborum due to a fall a few years ago. Took me a while but found a physio with a strong massage routine that fixed me properly. However pain kept coming back in the lumbar area.

I changed a few things: easier shoes, less weight at the gym and a new office chair. I'm much better now.

Have you looked into your posture and habits? Long shot but those things can contribute.

sillypussy Tue 07-Feb-17 10:12:43

Not sure about chiro as never had a session. Had back pain for 9 years after pregnancy and struggled on. Had back massage but didn't help. Osteo was fantastic. Sorted it out in 5 sessions. Just need yearly top ups to stay pain free.

Bluebell9 Tue 07-Feb-17 10:12:59

I couldn't function without my osteopath. My neck goes out of alignment and the muscles spasm round it. My osteopath massages the muscles and clicks my neck back in.
I've been to a chiropractor and they didnt help me as much.

user892 Tue 07-Feb-17 10:13:50

IME - chiropractic: all the ones I've seen are well dodgy - tend to catastrophise - made me pay for their own expensive x-rays and I was told I'd be seeing them for a long time (basically forever) and that I had the hips of an 80 year old (am in my 30s)

Osteopathy: was much more positive. Appointments 3 x long for the same money. Got me thinking more positively about my own healing and said I shouldn't need to see him continuously. Had intensive treatment and haven't needed anything else for several years now.

Massage - not as well qualified as the above but cheaper and if it works for you / this is all you need then much more enjoyable.

user892 Tue 07-Feb-17 10:15:20

Also, some chiropractors insist on calling themselves 'doctors'. They're nothing of the sort.

AstrantiaMajor Tue 07-Feb-17 10:15:44

I went to an Oesteopath for Arthritus pain. It helped enormously. It was in my cervical spine. 2 thing which have made a difference the ability to sleep now, without waking with pain and doing the exercises he recommended. I went for 4 sessions over 6 weeks. It was the best £200 I have spent.

therealsquireofwideacre Tue 07-Feb-17 10:20:30

I'm a massage therapist and you do have to be careful when choosing a practitioner because the standards of training are very variable. Did yours do a full postural assessment and tell you why your muscles are the way they are? She should be able to work on muscles and fascia in what may seem like unrelated areas but will ease whatever is going on. Osteopaths work from a postural point of view, I don't know what chiropractors do.

therealsquireofwideacre Tue 07-Feb-17 10:23:31

Massage therapists trained to level 4:

ThumbWitchesAbroad Tue 07-Feb-17 10:25:25

I'm not a massive fan of chiros, mostly because they do tend to do shorter treatments and focus on where you tell them the problem is - osteopaths, epecially classical osteos, will do the whole spine and find other reasons why you might be having whatever problem you're having. I've seen several osteopaths over the last 20 years - some are more "clicky", others do more soft tissue or acupressure work.

Deep tissue massage therapy can help get rid of muscle knots and tensions, but if your bones aren't in quite the right alignment (a common issue) then you'll need the osteo (or chiro) to straighten those before the muscle work will "stick". I had physio for several months with only short term relief; at no point did they mention the various curves in my spine, which the osteo fixed in about 5 sessions (I grew 1/2"! )

As with everything though - some chiros are better than others, some osteos are better than others, some massage therapists are better than others and the same for physios. You need to find what works for YOU.

But it sounds like you may need some deeper work - so maybe try your local osteopath and see. Osteopath and Chiropractor are protected titles, so you can't get any old person calling themselves that, ditto Physiotherapist - the only one of the 4 possible therapists that isn't a protected title is massage therapist, sports or otherwise; any old bod could do a weekend course and then set themselves up in practice.

Hope you get sorted. smile

SixtiesChildOfWildBlueSkies Tue 07-Feb-17 10:26:35

Another one for the Osteo here. Saw one several years ago after an accident meant I couldn't turn my neck, and was having horrendous headaches with it all day, every day.
It took 3 months of twice weekly appointments, then once fortnightly, then once monthly, for around a year.

Haven't been since - haven't needed to.

And, this was after a I saw a physio for 6 sessions, then she dismissed me saying 'oh, you've just got a sensitive neck and will have to learn to live with it!'

Thank the gods for the Osteo!

dementiawidow Tue 07-Feb-17 10:38:10

I'm a musician and like all musicians I get back and neck tension/pain (it's so common that orchestras give you an allowance for treatment). Over the years I've used chiro, osteo, physio, and massage - all of them, many times. I feel well qualified to comment! Chiro is good for sorting out an emergency; osteo is more long range, does help but I felt progress was quite slow; physio I didn't feel understood the root cause of my issues; recently I've switched over to sports massage. Not the candles and incense kind - I mean strong, anatomically informed deep tissue massage. It is by far the best and I regret spending so much on chiro and osteo in the past. It is just as expensive but works for me.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Tue 07-Feb-17 10:41:12

Oh the "learn to live with it"!!!
I started having transient vertigo for no obvious reason - would just veer sideways, or lose balance while sitting down, ffs!
Went to the GP, got referred to ENT, who did tests and came up with " you have a permanently damaged inner ear and need to do dizzy-making exercises for 10 minutes, 3 times a day, until your brain stops responding to the dizzy signals from your inner ear." In other words, "live with it".

Saw the osteopath, and he fixed the vertigo within 2 sessions. But I DO have a "sensitive neck" and if I do things that knock it out of line, back comes the vertigo. So I go and see the osteopath, get it straightened and away goes the vertigo again. Haven't had it for a long time now. smile

GrendelsAunty Thu 09-Feb-17 20:01:15

Thanks all - I've booked an osteo appt for a couple if weeks time.

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