Can Having a Massage Help Your Back Pain?

Written by James Tyrell-Nestor on 25th August 2015.

Increased endorphin levels
Can having a massage help your back pain? For most of us, the answer is ‘yes’, since massage is considered very low risk for most people and is non-invasive.

In addition to the many physical benefits, massage has been shown to help psychologically via relaxation and increased production of ‘feel good’ chemicals that the body naturally produces (endorphins) which are helpful for people who experience back pain.

This article describes why a back massage may be beneficial for you.

Benefits of Massage

The medical community is becoming more widely accepting of massage therapy as a credible treatment in conjunction with medical treatments and for many types of back conditions. Research shows that massage therapy has many health benefits for back pain sufferers, including:

• Increased circulation and blood flow

Increased circulation and blood flow brings much needed nutrition to the muscles and tissues and helps release toxins. This helps in recovery of muscle soreness from soft tissue injury and physical activity.

• Decreased muscle tension 

Massage relaxes the muscle and thus can improve flexibility, reduce pain caused by muscles tension and even improve sleeping.

• Increased endorphin levels

The “feel good” chemicals are released in the brain during a massage. This mood enhancer can ease anxiety and depression, which can help speed recovery and reduce pain, which is particularly important for those suffering from chronic back or neck problems.

Increased endorphin levels

Massage Therapy May Help Numerous Back Problems

Many healthcare providers encourage their patients to try massage therapy in addition to their medical treatment. If you feel massage will help you, you may wish to ask your Doctor to refer you to a massage therapist in your area.

There are numerous back issues which may benefit from massage therapy, including:

• Muscle strain in the lower and / or upper back/neck

Frequently, acute lower back pain is caused by muscle strain, such as from liftings, a sudden movement or an impact injury for an accident or sport.

Lower back pain can be very severe and last for several hours, days, weeks, even months and years. The area around the muscles can become inflamed when back muscles are strained or torn. With inflammation, the muscles can spasm in the back and cause both problems with movement and severe lower back pain.

The large upper back muscles are prone to irritation, either due to over-use with repetitive motions or de-conditioning (lack of strength). Upper back pain may also be due to a specific event, such as a sports injury, muscle strain or a car accident. Massage can help work out the irritation and spasm which in-turn will improve range of motion.

• Osteoarthritis of the spine

Spinal arthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage between the aligning facet joints in the back section of the spine.

The facet joints become inflamed and progressive joint degeneration can mean bone rubs on bone, which creates more frictional pain.

Therapeutic massage can help reduce osteoarthritis pain by reducing stress, muscle tension and improving circulation.

• Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can affect people differently, but symptoms usually include chronic pain, stiffness, lack of movement, fatigue and/or non-restorative sleep.

The patient typically feels both widespread pain and pain in specific “tender spots” which can be diagnosed by your Doctor with a physical examination.

Massage can target both the tender points and the more broadly distributed pain and stiffness.

• Contraindications

Although massage is relatively safe, there are some contraindications for massage therapy, such as (but not limited to): infectious skin disease, rash, recent surgery, unhealed wounds, osteoporosis.

Massage Therapy Treatment for Back and Neck Pain – What’s Involved? One question people often ask is: What kind of massage should I try?

For overall relaxation and circulation, many patients find the Swedish massage helpful. This technique is characterised by long gliding strokes and kneading motions.

For specific pain points, such as a lower back pain, Trigger Point Therapy (also known as Neuromuscular Therapy) is an effective treatment. Shiatsu Massage and Thai Massage are also popular techniques, which utilise some of the elements of Trigger Point Therapy.

Contraindications

Final Thoughts

Patients with severe back pain should be checked their Doctor before beginning massage therapy, and patients should always obtain an accurate medical diagnosis for the cause of their back pain before beginning a new treatment such as massage therapy to rule out any potentially serious conditions.

If you are experiencing any kind of lower back pain and your aim is to become pain free then Physology have a tailored treatment to suit you.

Sometimes the medical world can be hard to understand and when you are in pain you may not know whether to see a Chiropractor, Physiotherapist or Massage Therapist.

Our practitioners use a range of techniques based on theories that cross all the disciplines and will tailor an individual treatment to suit your exact pain.

So there is no need for you to search for pain treatment. Physology can help any lower back pain symptoms.

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Injury Specialist at Everton F.C and Founder of Physology. Writer and Public Speaker. Passionate about pain free results and living a life full of freedom and experiences. Contact me directly at james@physology.co.uk or follow me using the icon links provided.

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