Great question. My name is Dr. James Lee, and I have been a Chiropractor for almost 20 years. In my experience I have tried all of the above, massage, acupuncture and physical therapy. I have enjoyed all of them, when I needed them.
This is actually a big question in my office in South Austin Texas. Many of my patients ask me what they should do and can they do these different therapies to get better faster. I always discuss with my patients on a case-to-case basis. Everyone is different and most people do actually need a combination of different healing modalities. For example, Chiropractic and massage work great with each other in combination. The massage therapist is trained to work on areas of stress and tension with the goal of reducing the level of stress in the body and its muscles. Then the Chiropractor can go in and easily adjust the bones now that the tension has been reduced. However, a Massage therapist should never adjust the spine or press on areas of inflammation. This is a very important distinction. A Chiropractor is a Doctor, who has attended Medical School within the Schools of Chiropractic. Chiropractors are trained professionals on locating and detecting stress and tension levels of the spine and adjusting them.
Most Chiropractors are also trained in Physical Therapy. These courses are mandatory at all Chiropractic University, so a Chiropractor can also provide physical therapy. This is my strong recommendation, to have a Chiropractor perform or recommend physical therapy. These two types of healing modalities also work well together especially if the Doctor of Chiropractic is coordinating the two.
Acupuncture is an entirely different type of method of healing. I do recommend it and support it very much, but not in combination with Chiropractic care. These two modalities need to be separated and experienced alone and not together. The main reason is to understand what is working and why it’s working. Therefore if you combine two many modalities you will not understand the root of your problem. Acupuncture is a very good modality for most anything but it does not replace Chiropractic. Chiropractors are trained to move bones, to apply a gentle force in the direction of correction and help the body heal faster. Chiropractors study the body and its mechanics and then use their technique to remove ant interference in the nervous system and have the body heal, naturally.
In conclusion, as a Doctor of Chiropractic with 20 years experience, I suggest you find a Chiropractor you like and asked them these questions and follow their guidance. Many Chiropractors work with Massage Therapists and Physical Therapists and can suggest a good Acupuncturist if needed.