physiotherapy or massage

Physiotherapy vs Remedial Massage

By: Maurice Fearenside

April 4, 2019

Deciding on whether you need to do physiotherapy or remedial massage can be very tricky due to their similarities. First, you need to know what each treatment does and how it can help you based on your symptoms.

What are your symptoms?

Before you decide on which health practitioner to see try to assess your symptoms. Remedial massage therapists are specialised in relieving muscle tightness and muscle pain. If your symptoms feel joint or nerve based such as referred pain or headaches, you will likely be better off seeing a physio.

How to tell what kind of symptoms you have?

Sometimes figuring out if the pain is muscular, joint based or neural can be difficult. Generally, nerve pain will tend to feel more like burning, radiating ache often down the arms or legs. It can also radiate around the shoulder blades. A more definitive sign is if there is any numbness or pins and needles then there is likely a neural component. Joint pain often tends to feel more like stiffness and an ache quite localised to a joint such as around the back or deep in the shoulder. However, muscle pains can also feel like tightness with aches as well making it hard to differentiate.

A useful tip is if you find a certain movement hurts when you do it, try and get someone else to passively move your body in a similar way. If the pain is less it would usually suggest it is more muscle-based but if the pain is at a similar level, it would likely suggest more of joint or neural pain. 

Still not sure what kind of symptoms you have?

In the case of still being uncertain on your type of symptoms, it is best to book in a physiotherapy appointment where you can be fully assessed and informed regarding your symptoms. From there,  your physiotherapist will outline a proposed management for your condition in a wellness plan which might involve referring you to a remedial massage therapist, just having physiotherapy or a combination of both.

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