Should You Get a Massage Before or After a Chiropractic Adjustment?

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Most of my clients schedule their massages and chiropractic treatments together. Massage and chiropractic work naturally and dynamically together. I have seen it for years! Clients who combine massage therapy and chiropractic care generally see better, faster, and longer lasting results because their pain often includes soft tissue and spinal dysfunction. Chiropractic care and massage therapy addresses both of these important components of pain.

If you work as a massage professional in a chiropractic clinic, or frequently work with clients who get adjustments or manipulations around the time of their massage you may get asked – “Should I get my massage or my adjustment first?” Which arrangement is best? It depends on the preference massage professional, the chiropractor and their adjustment techniques, but most importantly –the client’s individual results.

What I have noticed over the years is people who have difficulty adjusting should try getting a massage before an adjustment. This will help relax muscle tissue prior to adjustment to help the adjustment proceed with ease and less pain. This is the most common request from chiropractors and works well for most clients, but it is not necessarily the best arrangement. People who feel they need to see the chiropractor frequently should try getting a massage shortly after an adjustment. This arrangements helps relax the muscle tissue around the newly aligned spine so the adjustment will “hold” or last longer. Many clients that try this arrangement find it to be very effective.

Encourage your clients to try both arrangements and see what works best for them. Many find that what they thought would work best is not always what produced the best results.

What is your opinion or experience?

Ivy Alcott-Hultquist, LMT

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  1. lee kalpin says

    I do not work with a chiropractor and rarely refer to them, however I do have several clients who get chirorpractic adjustments as well as massage treatments. I always recommend having the massage first so that the muscles are relaxed. This usually helps the adjustment to be done more easily with less pain for the client

  2. John F Kennedy says

    I agree,as a award winning licensed therapist who has worked in medical and spa envoirments,massage before an adjustments is usually way to go. Sometimes muscles are so hypertonic and inflamed,the bone will not adjust properly.

  3. Andrew says

    I had a chiropractor in Sanford and she used a massager before she adjusted my spinal cords and it helps pretty good and also she had me on the rolling table where the rollers goes up to your back and beck down to the legs. I’d prefer for a massage as well.

  4. Lisa, LMT, Ohio says

    I share space with a chiropractor and we have several common patients. The doctor prefers to do adjustment first so he can use electric stim without my oil interfering. There are pros/cons to each course of treatment as you stated. After explaining these to clients, they usually go with massage after chiro. The consensus is, they would rather leave with the feeling of relaxation from massage, than the jarring of the adjustment.

    • says

      Thanks for you insight, Lisa! I should sometime write down the percentages of my clients who prefer their adjustments before or after. I would assume it is about 50-50. I think it is easy to assume that it is best to do the massage before the adjustment, but in reality many clients do like the appts reversed as you stated.

  5. Deborah says

    I had an alignment and massage shortly after yesterday for the first time. I woke up this morning in extreme pain. Why?

    • says

      Hi Deborah,

      If you are in extreme pain, I would call your chiropractor and let them know. They may have some better insight and advice for you. I hope you feel better soon.

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