Can a massage get rid of back pain?
Your lower back is aching, and you don’t know what to do next. You’ve tried gentle stretches, watching your posture while sitting at your desk, and using bags of frozen peas as makeshift ice packs!
Customers often ask us if a massage can get rid of back pain, and our answer is yes, but with a few caveats.
Massage isn’t suitable for certain people, such as those who have just had major surgery, pregnant women suffering from eclampsia, or people with diabetes. Massage can also exacerbate certain back conditions; for example, pressing too hard on a slipped disc can worsen the pain.
How can massages help with back pain?
A good massage provided by a professional can help your back pain in the following ways:
- It encourages blood flow and improves circulation, helping to heal your back injury
- It relieves muscle tension, meaning you can experience a broader range of movement
- It can also release endorphins, making you feel less stressed and improving your mood
Studies have shown that massage therapy can help with lower back pain, with fewer people reporting pain a month after treatment.
However, it’s important to remember that while a massage can alleviate back pain, it’s not a cure for the underlying symptoms. It may be that you have massage treatments alongside physical therapy, chiropractic care, and other medical treatment.
The different types of massage available
When you think of massage, you might think of a relaxing massage given by a partner or loved one, but massage therapy is very different!
A massage therapist is a trained specialist skilled in different massage techniques and can plan a course of treatment that’s bespoke to your unique needs. They’ll look at your medical history and ask questions about your lifestyle to provide the right treatment to alleviate your back pain.
Here are some of the techniques a massage therapist might use:
- Swedish massage. A gentle and relaxing technique, this massage uses deep strokes, circular motions, and kneading to help ease muscle tension
- Shiatsu massage. A technique originating from Japan, Shiatsu massage is all about allowing energy to flow through your body, massaging pressure points to reduce pain
- Deep tissue massage. This intense technique uses a lot of pressure to get to the deep layers of muscle and tissues. While some people enjoy the relief it brings, others may find it painful
- Sports massage. This technique is aimed at athletes and those who have experienced injury through exercise. The aim is to reduce pain and ensure a faster recovery
You may have a specific technique you want to use in mind, or you may be happy for your massage therapist to make recommendations.
In conclusion, massage can be an excellent option for relieving back pain, but it’s not for everyone, and should be used alongside other pain management techniques.
We always recommend speaking to your doctor to identify the cause of your back pain and see if massage is the right option before starting a treatment plan.