by Sabrina Lundquist, RAc

How to chose the right healthcare provider for a sore muscle…

It is a harder question than it may sound, there are 4 well known styles of healthcare that treat muscle pain (acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractics, physiotherapy) and hundreds of lesser known approaches (including naturopathic medicine, osteopathy, craniosacral, athletic therapy…).

There might be some things to think about with each of those primary styles:

  • massage is good for people comfortable with touching its tangible and usually relaxing
  • acupuncture can involve less touching than massage, can treat sore spots from points far away from the injury, involves looking at more of your general health patterns
  • chiropractor & physio modern training is very similar, tangible, and using a wide range of tools


I find it helpful to think of healthcare like cooking.  Just like you have pain in a location of your body, you could be craving some warmth and chicken.  Whether that means: chicken soup (gentle), roasted chicken (sustaining),  pad thai (more noodles than chicken but still fits the chicken craving), curry (more warming spices than chicken soup),  popcorn chicken (fun but maybe not a good mainstay), pasta (isn’t pad thai just a type of pasta?:)  or certain salads. It is dependent on a lot of factors including your previous experience and comfort level.

If you have had this pain in the past and your RMT always fixes it for you; you already know what you are looking for. Maybe you’ve had a lot of massage and it helps 98% of the time but not this time, trying something new may fill a hole in your health care plan.

The option you chose is often better if you will use it regularly, if it is near work or home or a convenient bus. Also if you can use your benefits plans, if you feel like your practitioner understands your concerns and gives you information you can use.

If you have tried a modality in the past and not liked it, you may very well like another practitioner in the same style. For example, some acupuncturists let people rest for a long time and other mix in cupping and
adjust needles every few minutes. Those practitioners will be right for different people. So ask for what you like, ask your practitioner, ask your friends there may more than one right fit for you.

Sabrina Lundquist