Massage Therapist, Chiropractor, Physical Therapist… Oh My!

Massage Therapist, Chiropractor, Physical Therapist… Oh My!

-  Submitted by Juan Pablo Duran PT, DPT. 

Do you currently have pain, and are unsure where to go? How do you know you are going to the right person to treat your pain? What’s the difference between a physical therapist, a chiropractor, and a massage therapist? All are questions that many people have when attempting to manage their pain. While the specialty areas overlap with each other, each profession has unique characteristics that can assist you in managing pain and improving your function.   

Should I see a Massage Therapist?

Massage therapists address musculoskeletal impairments by utilizing touch to manipulate muscles and soft tissues. Massage therapists can relieve pain by improving circulation and relaxation, relieving stress, assisting in healing injuries, and aiding in the general wellness of their clients. Many clients receive a massage to treat and manage anxiety, improve mobility, reduce pain and stiffness, and improve sleep. Overall massage therapy serves a vital role in relaxation and relief of tension in conjunction, but not replacing, physical therapy and chiropractic interventions. 

Or should I see a Chiropractor?

According to Spine-Health, a chiropractor is a health care professional, whose focus is on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, specifically emphasizing manual adjustments/manipulations of the spine.  Chiropractors evaluate the unique relationship between the nervous system and the spine. Treatment is based on the thought process that interventions can reduce pressure on the involved structure by restoring your normal spinal alignment, which can improve your overall health. Research has demonstrated that a visit to your chiropractor can be very successful in treating acute back pain.  A quick realignment of your spine can relieve pressure and put your body in its best position to heal naturally without additional medical consults or medications. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to chronic low back pain, chiropractic treatment has not been effective even with early intervention. Despite addressing the problem early, you may only experience short-term relief and may not be helpful in the long run for effective management of chronic low back pain.  

What about a Physical Therapist?

According to the APTA, a physical therapist is a health care professional who is highly trained to help patients improve mobility and reduce pain. Physical Therapists focus on regaining pain free motion that is needed to perform everyday tasks for the average person, as well as the higher-level athlete. In many cases, expensive surgery can be avoided, and the need for long-term use of prescription medications diminished. Physical therapy emphasizes gradual recovery, as well as helping you manage chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. While the therapeutic effects may not be felt as quick as other health care professional interventions, a goal of physical therapy is to provide you with the techniques and skills that can assist you in maintaining results for the long term without having to rely on professional intervention. 

All three can play a role in your recovery.

As mentioned above, each area has its own special techniques and interventions to manage and relieve pain. Chiropractors can provide relief with acute neck or low back pain. If you find that you are consistently sore, or need deep relaxation, a massage therapist has the tools to aid in solving your problems. And finally, if you have nagging pain or discomfort that limits your daily activities such as getting dressed, walking up and down the stairs, and getting into your car, you will benefit greatly from visiting a highly trained physical therapist. 

-  Submitted by Juan Pablo Duran PT, DPT. 


About Juan Pablo Duran PT, DPT

Dr. Juan Pablo Duran is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Loudoun Physical Therapy. He first joined the practice in June of 2017. Juan Pablo completed his Bachelors of Science degree in Sports Medicine from Radford University. Following his undergraduate education, he then received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Lynchburg College.

Juan Pablo enjoys treating a wide variety of patients, and being of Colombian descent, he is fluent in the Spanish language. He is most passionate about incorporating new manual techniques into his treatments. These specialized forms of physical therapy allow therapists to use their hands to put pressure on muscle tissue and manipulate joints in an attempt to decrease pain and improve range of motion.

Juan Pablo appreciates working with patients with neck and/or back issues due to the fact that he finds the spine fascinating. He is currently working towards receiving his OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification and is certified in Trigger Point Dry Needling (TPDN). When he is not at work, Juan Pablo likes to exercise, play soccer, and spend time with his family and friends.

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