Massage Therapy for Back Pain

Posted on by Paula Gallagher

back-painIn the United States, lower back pain leads all disorders for years lost in disability. Doctors at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Indiana University say that more 50% of people who participated in a study where they received massages experienced clinically meaningful improvement in their back pain. We have all experienced back pain at some point. It can start as a mild nuisance or a nagging, dull ache which develops into a sharp debilitating pain that won’t go away. Back pain continues to be a major health and economic problem for Americans, especially in our 30s and 40s. Pain can usually be classified in one of two categories – acute or chronic – based on the duration of the pain. Acute low back pain can present in many ways and may start without any apparent reason at all, or it may result from a back strain. It’s typically the result of a significant physical exertion and can last from a few minutes to several weeks or months. Interestingly, the intensity of back pain may not feel equal to the type of injury sustained. Chronic back pain can be as a result of an acute injury that you never have fully recovered from, or something like osteoarthritis, which affects 1 in 10 Americans. Osteoarthritis can attack the joints of the spine, resulting in chronic back pain. If you suffer from lower back pain and are concerned about the risks associated with long-term use of some medications, alternative back pain treatments, like massage, may help you reduce medication use and promote self-care. Massage therapy is a hands-on approach designed to optimize health by manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, involving the muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints. A great massage therapist will assess a client's needs and tolerance and provide different options such as deep tissue massage, muscle energy techniques, flushing techniques, strain-counterstrain, active release techniques, and myofascial release. Massage therapy treatments can reduce tension and pain, increase circulation and improve flexibility. Sessions may be scheduled over a 6-week period or as necessary. Ask your healthcare practitioner if massage can help you relieve your back pain and put the spring back in your step. Photo from here, with thanks.