Can a Chiropractor Help With Muscle Pain?

Maybe you feel it when you first get out of bed in the morning. Or it gets progressively worse as the day goes on. It might even be keeping you up at night. 

Muscle pain. 

At some point in our lives, we all experience the soreness and discomfort associated with muscle pain, and since it doesn’t usually go away on its own, you have to do something about it.

Can a chiropractor help with muscle pain or should you be seeing another type of specialist?

Learn more about the causes of muscle pain and how chiropractic care fits in.

Table of Contents

Is Chiropractic Good for Muscles?

Chiropractors treat many conditions that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. 

Muscle pain or dysfunction may be a direct result of misalignment of the skeletal system, making chiropractic adjustments an effective form of relief from muscle pain. Adjustments help relax the deep layers of muscle tissue. 

At Cascade Spine & Injury Center, we integrate chiropractic care, massage therapy, and acupuncture therapy to effectively treat various musculoskeletal and nervous system dysfunctions. Depending on the cause of your pain, we will work with you to determine the most effective plan to help you return to health and be pain-free once again.

For more information or to book your consultation at our multidisciplinary clinic in Portland, OR, contact us today.

3 Common Causes of Muscle Pain

Some muscle pain is temporary, like the healing of muscle tissue after a strenuous workout, while some pain may be more severe and permanent. 

Whatever the cause of your pain, chiropractic care can help support muscle therapy. Here are the three main causes of chronic muscle pain:

#1: Postural Issues

Poor posture is one of the leading causes of back, neck, and shoulder pain. 

It is commonly seen in people who have jobs or a lifestyle in which they are often sitting down or sedentary. Over time, the sitting position becomes slouched, the head is forward, and the shoulders and upper back are rounded.

Sitting in this awkward posture for hours every day can lead to muscular imbalances, where some muscles are in a constant state of contraction and opposing muscles become weak and overstretched.

The result is muscle pain.

#2: Injury

Just about any type of injury can cause muscle pain. From falling to car accidents to a repetitive strain injury, muscle soreness is bound to happen.

Some common injuries that cause muscle pain include:

  • Tendinitis
  • Tendinosis
  • Abdominal strains
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic injury
  • Myofascial pain syndrome (repetitive use)
  • Back strains and sprains

If you’ve experienced any of these injuries, chiropractic care can help. It’s important to seek attention to an injury as quickly as possible after it occurs. Waiting to get treatment can result in worsening of the injury, making it more difficult to treat.

#3: Stress

When the body experiences stress, muscles naturally tense up. It’s a reflex action that the body takes to guard against pain or injury.

Sudden onset stress is that muscles tense up all at once, releasing only when the stress passes.

Chronic stress, on the other hand, causes the muscles to remain in a constant state of guardedness, staying tense and tight for extended periods. This can trigger adverse reactions and ultimately result in stress-related disorders and constant muscle pain.

Finding ways to relieve your stress can reduce your chances of experiencing stress-induced muscle pain. Stress-relieving activities, such as …

  • Breathing techniques
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Etc.

… may help decrease the muscle tension that leads to stress-related disorders.

Chiropractic care is highly effective in reducing the pain caused by stress-related disorders and can be used in combination with muscle therapy and relaxation techniques to eliminate pain.

3 Ways a Chiropractor Helps With Muscle Pain

#1: Adjustments

During an adjustment, your chiropractor positions you in various ways to treat the affected areas. You may begin lying facedown on a chiropractic table, then on each side of your body, and finally face up, depending on the standard practices of your chiropractor.

Using his or her hands, your chiropractor applies controlled, sudden force to the joints, pushing them past the normal range of motion. This may cause a pop or crack as the joint moves.

Adjustments are a critical component of muscle care. Muscles, joints, the nervous system, and your spine are all connected and affect the way you function and recover from injuries. 

Your musculoskeletal and nervous systems have a huge effect on your overall health.

Muscle therapy will relieve tension in the soft tissue, which makes it easier for a chiropractor to make adjustments. Conversely, chiropractic care supports muscle therapy by providing relief and support to misaligned joints.

Chiropractic adjustments help relax soft tissue, making muscle therapy more effective.

#2: Special Techniques and Exercises

Muscle Energy Techniques

Muscle energy techniques can be especially helpful when the cause of the pain is the muscles themselves.

As muscles spasm, the fibers are caught in a state of contraction and limited range of motion. Muscle energy techniques promote healing by helping the muscle lengthen and relax.

Trigger Point Work

When a muscle is injured, a “myofascial trigger point” may form. A trigger point is a small area within the muscles that can remain for many years after an injury has healed. Trigger points can cause stiffness, chronic pain, and referred pain (distant pain felt when pressure is applied to a trigger point).

Chiropractors use many techniques to treat myofascial pain. Where pain exists, there will always be some degree of spasm, which is a protective mechanism. 

The pain you feel may not be the primary problem, but a chiropractor can diagnose and treat the trigger point that’s causing the pain.

Muscle Relaxation Techniques

Your chiropractor may recommend progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) as a complementary exercise you can do at home to assist in the relief of muscle pain.

The technique involves tensing and relaxing certain muscle groups, one at a time.

Your chiropractor may also recommend adding massage therapy to your treatment plan. Massage is highly effective in relieving muscle pain temporarily and over the long term if treatments are done regularly.

Stretching Exercises

Your chiropractor may prescribe some stretching exercises for you to do at home and may help you stretch during your appointment. 

Stretching sore muscles can help break down any build-up of lactic acid and boosts blood flow to the area.

Stretching should always be gentle to avoid causing any further damage and if any stretch causes acute pain it should be stopped immediately.

#3: Chiropractic Modalities


Heat is often used to reduce muscle pain because it opens up the blood vessels and increases blood flow to the affected area. 

While this is great for many aches and pains, it’s especially helpful for repairing damaged tissue because increased blood flow will stimulate healing. However, heat is not recommended if you’re experiencing swelling or bruising of the affected area. 

You should always consult your doctor before using heat treatment if you suffer from heart disease or hypertension.

Interferential Current

Interferential current therapy (ICT) is a common type of electrical muscle stimulation that is often used to treat chronic pain resulting from injury, trauma, or surgery. ICT helps relieve pain and promotes faster healing.

ICT works by sending electrical stimulation to damaged muscle tissue, which increases blood flow and hormone production and promotes healing.

Intersegmental Traction

Intersegmental traction therapy uses a table with rollers that gently lift the body and open the facet joints along the spine. The table can be used to increase blood flow to the ligaments, discs, and muscles throughout the spinal column. 

The purpose of the procedure is to promote vital nutrients to circulate by moving the discs, stretching the muscles, and improving the stability of the back. 

How Massage Therapy and Acupuncture Can Also Help With Muscle Pain

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy involves the manipulation of the soft tissues in your body, including:

  • Muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Skin; and
  • Connective tissues

Massage therapists use their hands, forearms, and elbows to rub, knead, tap, or stroke the soft tissue with varying degrees of pressure.

Massage therapy is effective in reducing muscle pain as part of an integrative treatment plan or on its own.


Acupuncture is the most well-known and practiced traditional Chinese therapy used to accelerate healing, reduce pain, and improve whole-body functioning.

Very thin needles are expertly inserted into the skin at specific parts of your body. The needles use the body’s various meridians to improve the life energy or the flow of chi. 

Acupuncture can be used to complement chiropractic care and massage therapy, or it can be used effectively on its own.

For Help With Back Pain, Visit Cascade Spine & Injury Center: A Multidisciplinary Clinic Specializing in Chiropractic, Massage, Acupuncture, and Rehabilitation

If you are dealing with muscle pain of any kind, you don’t have to suffer silently — the team at Cascade Spine and Injury is here to help relieve your pain and get you on the road to a quick recovery.

We are a multidisciplinary clinic specializing in … 

  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage therapy 
  • Acupuncture
  • Therapeutic rehabilitation

… to overcome ailments such as muscle, back, and neck pain

Don’t wait another minute to find relief. Contact Cascade Spine and Injury today to book your first appointment. 

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