Can Massage Help Your Back Problem?
For most of us, the answer is probably ‘YES‘, since massage is non-invasive and considered very low risk for most people.
Massage therapy is more and more accepted as a credible treatment for many types of back pain and as an alternative to other medical treatments.
Research shows that massage therapy has several potential health benefits for back pain sufferers, including:
-Increased blood flow and circulation, which brings needed nutrition to muscles and tissues. This aids in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity or soft tissue injury (such as muscle strain).
-Decreased tension in the muscles. This muscle relaxation can improve flexibility, reduce pain caused by tight muscles and even improve sleep.
-Increased endorphin levels–the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. This mood enhancer can ease depression and anxiety, which can help reduce pain and speed recovery–particularly important for those suffering from chronic back or neck problems.
Most episodes of back pain are caused by muscle strain and stress, such as from lifting a heavy object, a sudden movement or a fall, work and life related stress.
The low back pain can be very severe and last for several hours, several days or even a few weeks. When back muscles are strained or torn, the area around the muscles can become inflamed.
With inflammation, the muscles in the back can spasm and cause both back pain and difficulty moving.
The large upper back muscles can also be irritated, due to a specific event, such as a muscle strain, sports injury or auto accident.
Massage can help work to decrease pain and improve range of motion.
So, what kind of massage should you try?
For overall relaxation and circulation, many clients find the Swedish massage combined with deep tissue techniques very effective. These techniques are characterized by long gliding strokes, kneading motions and precise finger pressure.
For specific pain points, trigger point therapy as well as Shiatsu can be an alternative treatment.
With massage therapy, the therapist applies alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the treated areas.
The client will feel some pain or discomfort from the pressure, but the muscle spasm should fade after the massage.
Any soreness from the pressure should disappear in 1 to 3 days, and the muscles that were worked should be less tight for a week or two afterwards.
A typical massage program for muscle pain consists of 4 to 6 weekly sessions.