Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek out massage therapy. Anyone who suffers from back pain knows it can disrupt any area of your life and interfere with your ability to carry out everyday tasks and enjoy your life. Massage therapy is one of the most effective, non-invasive treatments for back pain. Massage therapy not only relieves back pain, but helps to relieve the conditions in one’s body that might be causing the back pain. Here are ten ways massage therapy helps back pain.
1. Relieves muscle tension
A great deal of back pain is caused by muscle tension or muscle spasms. When you are under emotional or physical stress, you tend to tense your muscles. Physical pain in your back may cause you to tense your muscles even more. Massage therapy relaxes the muscles in your back around the areas that are causing pain.
2. Relieves stress and depression
Jobs, caring for children and family members, and carrying out your life can cause extreme amounts of physical and emotional stress. In addition, some people have a genetic predisposition for various forms of depression. All of these contribute to back pain. Even if you do not physically strain your back, emotional stress can be felt in the body as physical pain.
Massage therapy gives you time to yourself to relax. Skin on skin contact by a massage therapist gives you a sense of calm and wellbeing.
3. Increases flexibility
Massage therapy is most effective for back pain when it is paired with regular movement and exercise. Some people who suffer from back pain are in too much pain to exercise on a regular basis. Massage therapy relaxes your muscles, relieves pain, and may increase your flexibility and range of motion.
When massage therapy helps your pain, you will be able to carry out normal life tasks without thought. Gentle forms of exercise will help as well, such as walking, swimming, and yoga.
4. Helps with sleep
Lack of sleep can be disastrous for chronic pain and stress. For many back pain sufferers, the back pain interferes with their ability to fall and stay asleep at night. Regular massage therapy can help you sleep deeper and more restfully at night. In fact, many people fall asleep during a massage.
5. Increases hormone levels
Massage therapy releases serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins into the bloodstream. All of these hormones affect your mood, emotional state, and pain levels. Endorphins are also released during exercise and are natural pain relievers. Low levels of any of these hormones can cause depression and increased back pain.
6. Increases blood flow
Massage therapy opens up blood flow and oxygen to areas of your back that might be restricted due to tension and pain.
7. Decreases the need for more invasive treatments
Upper and lower back pain sufferers often try out multiple treatments that are not always needed. Family doctors, doctors of many specialties, physical therapists, and chiropractors all see many patients with back pain. Many professionals believe that doctors over treat back pain with expensive physical therapy, medications, and surgery that might be dangerous and not effective. Surgery, in particular, has become more common in the past several years as a treatment for back pain, but it often does not work and can make pain worse.
If you can control your pain levels with non-invasive treatments, such as massage therapy, you will be much better off. Massage therapy not only treats the back pain, but can correct the cause of the back pain as well.
As a bonus, weekly massage therapy can be much more pleasurable and much less expensive than prescription pain medications or surgery.
Many types of massage therapy are widely available. You may need to try more than one or alternate a few different kinds in order to find what is right for you. If you have a type of massage therapy you try that you find relieves your back pain, you might try that for several weeks in a row. Or, you might do a different type of massage each week over a period of several weeks and see if that helps your back pain more effectively.
Make sure your massage therapist knows about your history with back pain. That way you can work together to find the best type of massage therapy for you. Here are the most popular forms of massage therapy available for back pain:
Swedish Massage: This is the most popular kind of massage. Swedish massage is long, firm strokes over the entire length of the body. Ask your massage therapist to spend more time on your back if you have back pain.
Deep Tissue Massage: The massage therapist applies firm, deep pressure to different pressure points on your back around where you have back pain. This type of massage may leave you a little sore for a day, but it will relieve muscle tension and increase blood flow to your muscles and joints.
Hot Stone Massage: Smooth stones are heated in water and placed in several spots along your spine. The heat relaxes your muscles and relieves pain.