We get many calls from people in pain. The two most common questions are, "can you help?"and "what treatment should I get first?" I love these opportunities to educate potential clients on what our staff knows very well about treating pain with acupuncture, chiropractic medicine and massage.
As far as 'can we help,' we have helped literally thousands of Portlanders get out of pain! We've treated car accident victims, pregnant ladies, avid cyclists, overworked desk workers, teenage athletes and more.
Pain treated with over-the counter drugs or prescription medications rarely gets long-lasting results, and these treatments don't get to the root of the issue.
When we are in pain, there is usually a combination of inflammation, muscle tension, joint misalignment and connective tissue disorder. This cannot be treated in an effective, long-term way with drugs. But hand-delivered therapy from a trained practitioner goes a long way!
When I answer questions on care for pain and injuries, I give a brief explanation of how our three modalities can help:
Chiropractic: Helps to align the joints. (Joint misalignment leads to pain.)
Massage: Helps to relax the muscles. (Tight muscles cause pain.)
Acupuncture: Helps move blood and relax the connective tissue. (Stagnant blood and dysregulated connective tissue causes pain.)
Of course these are very simplistic explanations, but they're a good start.
As far as which to use first, as they are all quite useful in different ways, I often recommend to start with what you are comfortable with, or what attracts you.
If this is your first treatment ever, maybe start with a massage. If your friend has been raving about acupuncture, maybe it's time to try! These three types of care compliment each other very well, so you can always layer in a new treatment type when you are ready.
Some of our clients love to get two treatment types in a row on the same day. Once we had a client get three treatments in a row! This is 'totally allowed' and can be a great idea. Since massage will compliment chiropractic medicine or acupuncture, and vice versa, getting two treatments in a row is relaxing and gives you a deeper treatment experience. It also saves the time from coming back again to the studio.
It's hard to say which treatment type will be the most effective for your condition. Some of our massage clients need to add acupuncture to release tension in another way. I've also had sciatica clients who got better results with chiropractic medicine than acupuncture. It totally depends on the case.
What I most recommend is to be open-minded to new treatment types and to seek care as soon as possible. Waiting to treat a new injury increasing the odds it will become chronic, and you don't want that!!
Bridgit Danner, Licensed Acupuncturist and Owner