Back pain is a very common ailment for moms, gardeners, blue-collar workers, weekend sports warriors and sedentary office workers. Most back pain sufferers have tried traditional pain relief like muscle rub creams, muscle relaxant pills, chiropractors, and even physical therapy. If your pain is still nagging you, massage should be something you are willing to investigate.
Healthcare professionals are recognizing the value of massage therapy and recommending to their patients to include massage therapy as part of their pain management treatment plan. Today, many healthcare professionals, are in favor of using massage therapy, in additional to more traditional treatments.
A study on back pain and massage therapy conducted in 2001 at the University of Miami found that massage does lessen lower back pain, depression, anxiety and improve sleep. It also showed that massage improved range of motion and improved serotonin and dopamine levels (as reported in the International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 131-145).
Research shows that massage has the following benefits to those who suffer from back pain:
- It improves blood circulation, which aids in the relief of sore muscles from physical activity
- It relaxes muscles so that range of motion can be improved
- Relaxation also improves sleep, which can be a problem for those who suffer from back pain
- It increases endorphin levels. These endorphins are chemicals that the body produces to make you feel good and which helps to manage pain
The massage therapy that has been the most beneficial to lower back pain sufferers has been “neuromuscular therapy“. This therapy is also called “trigger point myotherapy“.
This massage technique uses alternating levels of concentrated pressure for the areas of spasming muscles. The therapists uses the fingers, knuckles and elbow to apply the pressure. The Japanese Shiatsu and Chinese TuiNa massage therapy employ such massage methods and are hence suitable for pain relief massage.
When someone is suffering from back spasms the muscles are painful to the touch. The muscle is lacking in blood flow, which causes the pain, due to an excess of lactic acid. The lactic acid makes the muscle feel sore especially after physical activity.
Massage relaxes the muscle, which in turn, releases the lactic acid from the muscle. Now the muscle should be receiving more blood and thus more oxygen. Some patients will feel initial pain until the lactic acid is released from the muscle. The therapist will respond to the physical level of pain as experienced by the patient. The therapist will adjust the pressure based on what the client tells them.
The massage should never be overly painful. The patient will usually describe the pain as being a “good pain” when describing the pressure. The patient should experience a fading of soreness following the therapy after a day or two.
Pix Credit: http://images.jupiterimages.comTags:endorphin levels lactic acid lower back pain massage massage technique neuromuscular therapy pain relief pain management treatment sore muscles Spa and massage health articles