Chances are, you’ve experienced back pain, or you know someone who has. It’s so common -- an estimated 75% to 85% of all Americans have had some degree of back pain. And many of these individuals have sought relief for their symptoms through massage therapy.
Massage therapy for back pain is effective for several reasons.
- Massage therapy can alleviate or reduce muscle strain and spasms. Massage can help restore the normal contractility and function of the muscle. It also helps improve flexibility and the flow of blood and oxygen, which can alleviate the strain and spasm
- Massage can correct postural imbalances that can lead to back pain. Tight hip flexors, tight hamstrings, and weak muscles in the middle and upper back can all affect posture. Massage can help relax joints and relieve pressure points to it’s easier for the body to attain a healthy and natural position.
- The treatment can alleviate stiffness or tightness that can cause pain. Specifically, regular massage can result in improvement in range of motion, hand grip strength, and overall function of the joints, making it effective in the treatment of arthritis.
- It can improve sleep, an essential function that can suffer when people have back pain. One study found that participants who received regular massage therapy experienced fewer disturbances in sleep and reduced lower back pain.
- Massage therapy can be a natural complement or alternative to medication and surgery. The Mayo Clinic reports nearly 40% of adults are using complementary and alternative medicine, including massage therapy, and doctors are combining these approaches with mainstream medical therapies as “integrative medicine.”
- The massage therapy approach can increase endorphins and dopamine levels. Endorphins comprise a group of brain chemicals that reduce pain and the negative effects of stress. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in motivation, pleasure, and mood. Increasing endorphins and dopamine can thus help in managing back pain.
How to find the right massage therapy for back pain
There are many modalities and treatments of massage that can provide these benefits and help heal back pain. Integrated together, or used individually, they include:
- Neuromuscular trigger point therapy
- Shiatsu Massage
- Tui Na Massage
- Myofacial release
- Structural integration
- Swedish massage
Once you’re ready to explore massage therapy for back pain, a trained and certified massage therapist can explain these different modalities and help point you in the right direction for your specific diagnosis and treatment. It’s important that the massage therapy professional you select is specifically trained in treating arthritis, back pain, or fibromyalgia.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic is a Miami massage therapy and herbal medicine clinic for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500.