Whether you suffer from chronic back pain or the occasional strain in your back, untreated back pain can be frustrating, uncomfortable, and even debilitating.
Depending upon how long you have suffered from this issue, you may have sought out a number of different treatment methods – including massage therapy.
But is massage effective for pain relief? Will massage therapy really provide a solution to long term back pain?
Before those questions can be answered, it’s important to discover the most common causes of back pain that could leave you at risk for long term strain or injury. Back pain is most often caused by:
- Improper/heavy lifting
- A sudden, unnatural movement
- Strained ligaments and muscles over time
In many cases, long term back pain could be the sign of a deeper issue, like a ruptured disc, arthritis, or even sciatica – a condition where a bulging disc presses on the main nerve in your leg to cause sharp pain.
After you have seen your doctor to determine the cause of your back pain, massage therapy may be his number one recommendation to balance and relieve pain in your lower and upper back.
Even if you struggle from mild to moderate back pain from time to time caused by sitting at your desk day after day, massage can still be beneficial to relieve pressure on strained muscles that are causing discomfort.
Massage for Back Pain Benefits
Massage isn’t just for pampering. In a including massage therapy conducted on over 400 adults who suffered from moderate to severe lower back pain, researchers explored whether massage therapy really could provide long term relief to these issues.
The participants in the study underwent weekly full body massages for relaxation, weekly massages focused on specific treatment areas, or other treatment methods. Other treatment methods included taking pain medication, undergoing physical therapy, seeing a chiropractor, or doing nothing at all.
After only 10 weeks, the study participants in both massage groups showed the most improvement in mobility and pain relief compared to those using other treatment methods.
It is interesting to note that the type of massage that was administered didn’t affect the results for better or worse. This means that even a basic relaxation massage, normally performed Swedish style, can still be beneficial to relieve long term back pain.
After 10 weeks, up to 39% of the study participants undergoing massage confirmed that their pain was almost completely gone. This was compared to 4% of participants using other treatment methods.
How to Choose a Massage Therapist
Clearly, regular including massage therapy has proven benefits to relieve mild to severe back pain. In many cases, if you see a chiropractor for back pain, you will be told that tight muscles are the issue, causing an imbalance in the lower and upper back to create discomfort.
Not all massage therapists are equal. Some specialize in certain areas of pain relief, and some have more training than others. If you’re on a tight budget, consider visiting a massage therapy school as a cheap alternative. However, if you have serious back pain and are under the care of a physician, it’s best to choose a highly skilled massage therapist trained in back pain relief.
Bethany Ramos is an expert health writer who is passionate about nutrition and fitness. Please visit her HGH website for more information on how to naturally improve your health.