You’re stiff and sore, with chronic or acute pain, and you want to do something to relieve your discomfort and improve your mobility. But is it physiotherapy or remedial massage that will provide you with the greatest relief?
At The Alignment Studio, we believe both therapies are equally beneficial – and very complementary; however, there are some cases where physiotherapy is more appropriate than massage, and vice versa.
To help you book the right appointment, we asked Senior Physiotherapist Conor Brennan to explain the different applications and benefits of physiotherapy and remedial massage. Here’s what he had to say.
Physiotherapy Vs Remedial Massage
Physiotherapy involves the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries that result in pain, weakness, impaired mobility and function. After a thorough assessment and diagnosis has been made, your physio will utilise soft tissue techniques, dry needling, joint mobilisation, joint manipulation, stretching, exercise prescription and possibly a Pilates-informed clinical rehab program.
The final stage of recovery involves a solid rehabilitation program. This will focus both on strengthening the area and correcting the underlying muscle imbalances/asymmetries that have contributed to the injury.
Remedial massage, on the other hand, is a type of soft tissue treatment that is used to help treat soft tissues and help restore normal function. The aim of remedial massage is to decrease muscle tension and spasm, improve blood flow and circulation and promote healing. A remedial massage therapist will also prescribe stretches and advise you on the best management of your condition.
So, is physiotherapy or remedial massage for you?
So, which is the best treatment for your current condition – physiotherapy or remedial massage? The general rule of thumb is that when you are in acute pain or after an injury it is best to start with a physiotherapy assessment. Your physio will be equipped to correctly diagnose the injury and set up a thorough treatment and rehabilitation plan. This may include a mix of both physiotherapy and remedial massage, as well as clinical exercise.
However, if your pain is not sharp and you’re experiencing general muscle soreness and tightness after exercise or work-related stress and tension, remedial massage will be most beneficial. It is also a great option before a sporting event or as regular maintenance to relieve tension, boost circulation, improve recovery and maintain general mobility.
To recap, see a physio as your first step if you have:
- Acute or sudden pain
- A current injury
- A complicated injury history or recurring injuries
- Chronic, undiagnosed pain
- Postural issues
- An underlying health condition
- Recurring headaches
- Recently undergone orthopaedic/reconstructive surgery
- Balance and coordination problems
- A desire to enhance your sporting performance
A remedial massage is ideal if:
- You spend a lot of time seated
- You do a lot of computer work
- You’re stressed and tense
- You need a relaxing treatment
- You’re run down and often get sick
- You’re in training for a sports event
- You want to recover sooner between training sessions or after a sporting event
- You want to maintain your body