Updated: Oct 9
Back pain is a common issue that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. There are various treatments available for back pain, and massage therapy is becoming increasingly popular.
Many people wonder whether massage therapy is a viable option for back acute or chronic pain, however. In this blog post, we will explore whether massage helps with back pain and its benefits and risks.
The Science Behind Massage Therapy
Massage therapy involves the manipulation of soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The goal of massage therapy is to promote relaxation and relieve tension in the body. Research has shown that massage therapy can have positive effects on the body.
For example, a study published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork found that massage therapy can help reduce discomfort and improve the range of motion in people with chronic low back pain.
Benefits of Massage Therapy for Back Pain
Massage therapy can provide relaxation massage with many benefits for people with back pain, including:
· Reduced chronic pain:
Massage therapy can help reduce pain in the back or neck pain, by relaxing tight muscles and reducing inflammation in the body.
· Improved flexibility:
Massage therapy can help improve flexibility in the back by increasing blood flow to the muscles and promoting relaxation.
· Improved posture:
Massage therapy can help improve posture by relieving tension in the muscles that support the spine.
· Reduced stress:
Massage therapy can help reduce stress by promoting relaxation and reducing tension in the body.
· Improved sleep:
Massage therapy can help alleviate pain and improve sleep by promoting relaxation and reducing pain.
· Increased range of motion:
Massage therapy can help increase the range of motion in the back by improving flexibility and reducing muscle tension.
Related Post: Is Massage Good for Sciatica?
Types of Massage Therapy for Back Pain
There are various types of massage therapy that can help relieve back and neck pain. Some of the most common types of massage therapy include:
This type of massage involves long, flowing strokes to help relax the muscles and relieve tension.
Deep tissue massage:
This type of massage involves deep pressure and slower strokes to target deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue.
Trigger point massage:
This type of massage involves applying gentle pressure to specific areas of the body to relieve pain and tension.
This type of massage involves gentle stretching and pressure to release tension in the connective tissues that surround muscles.
This type of massage involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to relieve pain and to relieve muscle tension too.
What to Expect During a Massage Session
If you are considering massage therapy for back pain relief, it is essential to know what to expect during a massage session. A typical massage session involves:
Your massage therapist will ask you questions about your medical history and current symptoms to determine the best type of massage therapy for your needs.
· Application of oil or lotion:
Your massage therapist may apply oil or lotion to your back to reduce friction during body massage and make it easier to apply pressure.
· Massage techniques:
Your massage therapist will use various massage techniques, such as effleurage, petrissage, and kneading, to manipulate the soft tissues in your back.
Throughout the massage, your massage therapist will check in with you to make sure the pressure and techniques are comfortable and effective.
· Resting period:
After the massage, your therapist may suggest that you rest for a few minutes to allow your body to fully relax and absorb the benefits of the massage
It is important to drink plenty of water after a massage to help flush out any toxins released during the massage.
Risks and Precautions of Massage Therapy
While massage therapy is generally considered safe, there are some risks and precautions to be aware of. For example:
In rare cases, massage therapy can cause injury to the soft tissues in the body, particularly if the pressure is too intense or applied incorrectly.
There are certain conditions that may make massage therapy unsafe or contraindicated, such as open wounds, recent surgery, or certain medical conditions.
Some people may be allergic to certain types of massage oils or lotions, so it is important to inform your massage therapist of any allergies you may have.
While massage therapy can be safe during pregnancy, it is important to inform your massage therapist if you are pregnant so they can adjust the techniques and positioning as necessary.
Some medications, such as blood thinners or pain medications, may affect how your body responds to massage therapy, so it is important to inform your massage therapist of any medications you are taking.
Other Treatment Options for Back Pain
While massage therapy can be an effective treatment option for back pain, there are other treatment options available to treat pain as well. Some of the most common options include:
· Physical therapy:
Physical therapy involves exercises and stretches designed to improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion in the back.
· Consultation with your health care professional:
It is important to identify and treat the underlying cause of your back pain. Discussing concerns with your health care professional is highly recommended as your treating team will be able to recommend relevant analgesia or interventions to assist you further with treating your lower back pain.
Massage therapy can be a valuable tool in managing back pain. It can help reduce pain, improve flexibility, and promote relaxation in the body. However, it is important to approach massage therapy with caution and to communicate openly with your massage therapist to ensure a safe and effective treatment.
Remember, everyone's experience with back pain and massage therapy is unique. It is important to listen to your body and seek the advice of a medical professional if you have any concerns about your back pain or treatment options.
Does massage really help back pain?
Yes, massage therapy can help with back pain by reducing pain, improving flexibility, treating pain, and promoting relaxation in the body. However, it's important to communicate with your massage therapist and approach massage therapy with caution. Seek medical advice if you have concerns.
What type of massage is best for back pain?
There are various types of massage that can be effective for back pain, including Swedish, deep tissue, trigger point, myofascial release, and shiatsu massage. The best option for you depends on your specific symptoms and needs, and it's important to discuss this with your massage therapist.
How often should I get a massage for back pain?
The frequency of massage therapy for back pain varies depending on the severity and underlying cause of chronic back pain. Discuss with your massage therapist to determine a treatment plan that works best for you. Other treatments such as exercise and stretching may also be helpful in managing back pain.
Should I go to the chiropractor or massage first?
The decision to visit a chiropractor or massage therapist first depends on individual needs and preferences. Chiropractors focus on spinal alignment, while massage therapists focus on soft tissue manipulation. Consult with a medical professional to determine the best approach for your situation.