We have been asked “How often should I visit a chiropractor?” and “What are some signs that I need a massage over needing adjusted or vice versa?” and where able to get Dr. Hamilton to answer them here for us.
Great questions! It is difficult to answer your first questions with specifics since the frequency of care is dependent on your individual complaint and the severity of said complaint. When you visit any doctor, including your chiropractor, they start with an examination, assess you individual needs then you then give you their recommended treatment options. Your chiropractor will let you know their recommended frequency of care after their examination is complete. For example, someone who was just in a car accident will have a higher frequency care scheduled than someone with a non-complicated complaint of back pain. Your chiropractor will make recommendations to fit your specific needs.
Now for your second question. It may be helpful to first understand the difference between a chiropractor and a massage therapist. In general, chiropractic therapy focuses on the hard tissues (mainly joints) of the spine and other areas which they manipulate to relieve pain and increase function. Chiropractors have training in some massage techniques but often do short sessions of muscle work along with joint manipulations. Chiropractors are authorized to make medical diagnosis, order x-rays or lab work if they find it necessary. Chiropractors cannot prescribe prescription medications. Massage therapists, on the other hand, perform their work on the soft body tissues such as the muscles, tendons and ligaments but they have not been trained nor are they licensed to adjust the spine or any other joints. Massage therapists may not legally make medical diagnosis, order x-rays or any lab work.
In general terms, if you are having pain that feels like it is limiting your motion, having acute pain, or have a new injury you should see your chiropractor. Your chiropractor will perform an exam and can diagnose the problem.