The Definitive Guide to Massage for Back Pain
By Lubna Sheikh on 25th February 2020
Do You Experience Backpain?
Back pain can be an extremely frustrating experience because it can be rather difficult to get any real, consistent relief.
If this is the case for you, you may want to consider getting a massage specifically designed to target and soothe any back pain you might be experiencing because, believe it or not, relief is possible.
Continue reading to learn more.
Who Can Benefit From a Back Pain Massage?
Anyone suffering from back pains, or other problems stemming from the back, can benefit from a back pain massage. Someone may get back pain, most commonly lower back pain, for a variety of reasons.
One of the main reasons is bad posture. Lots of people today spend a lot of time sitting because of work, and other day-to-day tasks require it. As most people have less than stellar posture, they may develop back pain.
Furthermore, even if someone does not sit for the better part of their day, they may end up with back pain because of injuries due to things like heavy lifting.
Even stress can cause back pain as when someone is under stress; they tend to tense up. If the person stays tense for a long time, it can end up restricting function and circulation.
Types of Back Pain
Back pain can be divided into two main categories: acute back pain and chronic back pain. Acute back pain is short-lived.
It can last up to three months, but it usually does not go past a few weeks. On the other hand, chronic back pain is any pain that lasts longer than three months.
Usually, if someone has chronic back pain, it will hurt for a substantially longer period of time and may never go away without treatment.
Massage can help relieve pain no matter what type you have, but some researches do suggest that it is only helpful for those who have acute back pain.
Causes of Back Pain
There are so many various causes of back pain, and sometimes people can have more than one.
Below you can read about some of the most common causes.
- Sciatica: This is a tingling/pain that is n the back, butt, back of the leg, and the feet
- Spinal Conditions: Diseases like stenosis can cause back pain or general stiffness
- Fractures, Strains, and Sprains: Any injury to muscles, whether it be sudden or due to repetitive action, can cause back pain
- Hypermobility or subluxation: This is muscle fatigue and can result in weakness, clicking in the back, or instability
- Joint Irritation or Dysfunction: This kind of pain can be dull and aching or sharp and stabbing
- General pain: Some people may just suffer from back pain that has no direct cause. More often then not, this pain will come at the end of the day and is more of an ache or throbbing pain than a stabbing pain
Types of Back Pain Massages
Below, we list the five most effective forms of massage to help alleviate back pain:
1. Swedish Massage
A Swedish massage is designed for relaxation and to aid cramped or tense muscles. Techniques use during a back pain massage are effleurage (long strokes from the top of muscle to bottom), petrissage (kneading and rolling muscles), tapotement (tapping of the muscles), and friction (deep pressure applied to particular points or muscles.) This kind of massage is best for people who may be experiencing back pain due to stress or deals with lots of muscle cramping.
2. Deep Tissue
A deep tissue massage is designed to deal with pain deep in the muscle, almost to the bone. People who are particularly sensitive may not enjoy this kind of massage, but therapists should be able to cater to your specific needs. It can be used to treat even chronic pain, but often people do feel sore for a few days post-massage.
3. Trigger Point
This massage is also designed to go deep into the muscle, but the goal is to target specific points that are the cause of the pain. Sometimes, the trigger point for pain in one area of the body can be a muscle that is seemingly unrelated. Relief is achieved when the massage therapist applies specific and deep pressure to the trigger points.
This kind of massage is done by the therapist, specifically massaging the fascia. Through this kind of targeted massage can aid all sorts of pain. It is important to note that this may not be the most relaxing massage during the actual process.
This kind of massage is done with very light touches that help fluid around the brain, and spinal cord move how it is supposed to. When this fluid moves correctly, it relieves pains in muscles and tissue.
Benefits of Back Pain Massages
There are several reasons that massage aids back pain. First of all, a massage increases proper blood flow, which decreases soreness. Additionally, with a massage, a person will experience decreased tension, but increased endorphins (chemicals that make a person feel good.) Finally, often during a massage, the massage therapist will apply heat such as warm stones or hot towels; this increases the relief.
What to Expect From a Back Pain Massage
Massages really depend a lot on the therapist, so it is important to ask questions before you go or before you start. You should ask questions about their technique, training, and rates. As far as time, you should expect to spend thirty to ninety minutes in a session. In the beginning, you may feel a little sore after a more intense massage, but the benefits will still come. Any areas of specific pain (like your back pain) should be told to your therapist before the session starts.
How Fast Should You Expect Results?
Massages can start to provide relief with the first session, but it is important to understand that for the best and long-lasting relief, several session is usually necessary. Often, regular and consistent appointments are the best way to achieve relief. You should also consider what other things you are doing (or not doing) to achieve relief. Practice paying attention to your posture, exercising, and performing various relaxation techniques.
What Factors Effect Post-Massage Recovery?
- Sleep. The amount and quality of sleep you get greatly affect your recovery.
- Depression. People with depression often experience more pain and have a harder time recovering.
- Stress/Anxiety. These factors can cause pain and prevent recovery.
- Importance. Often people who consider recovery important experience relief faster because they prioritize it. On the other hand, if you prioritize it to the point it causes stress, it can be counterproductive.
- Along with importance, things, like avoiding moving out of fear of pain or overly catastrophizing a situation, can cause stress and hinder recovery.
About the author of this article
My name is Lubna and I am a Holistic Food Coach, Natural Chef, Massage Specialist & Yoga teacher. I am passionate about your health and well-being. Now, health and well-being is my life! I practice yoga every morning. I attend and support my community fitness centre and I have recently learned how to swim.