Today. I would like to talk a little bit about how chiropractic care and massage therapy work together. There are a couple of things that we can address when talking about this subject. The first would be whiplash. Of course, we all know about this. A lot of people have had whiplash from being in an auto accident and many people have also received chiropractic care along with massage therapy in order to correct the problem. Now is one better than the other?

Is chiropractic care the preferred thing to do for whiplash or is massage therapy the better option? Well, what I have found in my practice is that chiropractic and massage are actually very complimentary to one another when dealing with whiplash. With whiplash, there has been tension placed on the back neck muscles. They have been hyperextended, they have been strained, the ligaments have been strained and there has also been a lot of tension placed on the front neck muscles. 

They have been strained as well. Very often massage therapists will ignore the front neck whistles, but they are a key part of the healing process so the chiropractor’s job is to put the bones back into place, but since these muscles have been strained and since the ligaments have been strained, they are trying to lock the area down.

This is why people who have had whiplash often have a limited range of motion in their neck. They can’t turn from side to side like they could. They can’t move their head up and down like they could be before so the the ligaments and muscles are trying to lock the area down in order to protect it. However, the bones of the neck are out of place and so the chiropractor needs to physically move those bones to put them back into place. They are not going to move very easily in their locked down position and this is where a good massage therapist comes into the picture. A good massage therapist will recognize some of the things that have been going on with the whiplash when involved in a car accident. Very often there is a impact against the seatbelt as well. This will tighten up some of the muscles and ligaments and Fatia in the chest. This tension will translate directly into the neck and will tend to pull the neck forward. 

When the neck is being pulled forward. The muscles in the back are hanging on for dear life as it worked to try to prevent the head from going all the way forward. They’re trying to do their job but they are being overpowered by the weight of the head and the tension of the muscles in the front.

So in treating lip lash it good massage therapist first of all needs to recognize the role that the front is playing in the whole process. So releasing the tension that is in the chest, releasing the tension that is in the front of the neck is a very key part of this procedure. Two muscles in particular are called the sternocleidomastoid muscles. They are on the front of your head and they are responsible for turning your head from side to side and also for pulling your head forward with the whiplash. These muscles will almost always have tension on them and almost always need to be released. 

After the SCM muscles have been released. The therapist will also pay attention to the mobility of the vertebrae. Do the vertebrae have the ability to articulate with one another? Can the head turn easily from side to side? Can it translate left and right? Can it move forward and backwards? Getting this mobility back is essential for the chiropractor to do her job. When the chiropractor is working with bones that are now mobile, she is going to have a much easier time doing her work. There is another set of muscles that play a key role in this work as well and those are the scaling muscles. The scaling muscles are attaching on the ribs and on the signs of the vertebrae. Very often these scaling muscles will be part of the locking down process that is experienced during the whiplash. Now when when the scalings are locking down, they are also restricting nerves and they are restricting blood vessels.



So often clients who have had whiplash will also have numbness or tingling in their fingers due to the scalings who are partially responsible for restricting that nerve and blood vessel function. So which order should somebody who has experienced whiplash see these professionals? My general recommendation is to first of all see the massage therapist. It is imperative for those muscles and ligaments to be relaxed for things to be moving so that the chiropractor can move the bones easily. Also, if the chiropractor moves the bones and the tension has not been released from the muscles and from the ligaments, then those same tight muscles are likely to simply pull the neck back out of position. A neck that has been released by a massage therapist and is then adjusted by the chiropractor is likely to stay a lot more permanently than a chiropractic adjustment alone. So to recap, a good massage therapist will first of all start working with the tension that is in the chest. 

He will then move to the tension that is in the front of the neck. During the massage. There needs to be particular attention paid to the muscles that are on the front of the neck, both the exterior SCM muscles and the deeper muscles that are right in front of the vertebrate. The massage therapists will then pay attention to the mobility of the neck and make sure that the bones have the ability to move forwards, backwards, side to side, so that when the client goes to see the chiropractor, the massage therapist has already given the mobility necessary and reduce the tension so that the chiropractic adjustment can be a more effective and more permanent solution.