Massage & Your Back Pain

Can Massage Help You Back Problem?

For most of us, the answer is probably ‘yes’, since massage is non-invasive and considered very low risk for most people. In addition to physical benefits, certain types of massage have been shown to help psychologically via relaxation and increased production of ‘feel good’ chemicals that the body naturally produces (endorphins)–helpful for people with both acute back problems and chronic back pain.

Massage therapy is becoming more widely accepted in the medical community as a credible treatment for many types of back pain and/or as an adjunct to other medical treatments. Research shows that massage therapy has several potential health benefits for back pain sufferers, including:

  • Increased blood flow and circulation, which brings needed nutrition to muscles and tissues. This aids in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity or soft tissue injury (such as muscle strain).
  • Decreased tension in the muscles. This muscle relaxation can improve flexibility, reduce pain caused by tight muscles and even improve sleep.
  • Increased endorphin levels–the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. This mood enhancer can ease depression and anxiety, which can help reduce pain and speed recovery–particularly important for those suffering from chronic back or neck problems.

Massage Therapy May Help Numerous Back Problems

  • Muscle strain in the lower back or upper back/neck. Most episodes of acute lower back pain are caused by muscle strain, such as from lifting a heavy object, a sudden movement or a fall. The low back pain can be very severe and last for several hours, several days or even a few weeks. When back muscles are strained or torn, the area around the muscles can become inflamed. With inflammation, the muscles in the back can spasm and cause both severe lower back pain and difficulty moving. The large upper back muscles are also prone to irritation, either due to de-conditioning (lack of strength) or overuse injuries (such as repetitive motions). Upper back pain may also be due to a specific event, such as a muscle strain, sports injury, or auto accident. Massage can help work out the spasm/irritation and improve range of motion. Read more in Back muscles and low back pain and Causes of upper back pain.

  • Osteoarthritis of the spine. Spinal arthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage between the aligning facet joints in the back portion of the spine. The facet joints become inflamed and progressive joint degeneration creates more frictional pain as bone rubs on bone. Therapeutic massage can help reduce osteoarthritis pain by improving circulation and reducing stress and muscle tension. However, it is important to find a professional who is specifically trained in treating people with arthritis. See also More spinal arthritis treatments.

  • Fibromyalgia can affect people differently, but is usually characterized by pain, stiffness, fatigue and/or non-restorative sleep. The patient typically feels both widespread pain and pain in specific “tender points” as evidenced by physical examination. Massage can target both the tender points and the more broadly distributed pain and stiffness. Read more in Management of fibromyalgia.

Massage Therapy Treatments for Back and Neck Pain–What’s Involved

One question patients often ask is: What kind of massage should I try? For specific pain points, such as a lower back muscle strain, the American Academy of Pain Management recognizes neuromuscular therapy (also called trigger point myotherapy) as an effective treatment. With neuromuscular therapy, the therapist applies alternating levels of concentrated pressure (10-30 seconds) on the areas of muscle spasm. The patient will feel some pain or discomfort from the pressure, but the muscle spasm should be lessened after the massage. Any soreness from the pressure should fade in 1 to 3 days, and the muscles that were worked should be less tight for a week or two afterwards. A typical massage therapy program for muscle spasms consists of four sessions over 6 weeks.

TESTIMONIAL

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PENNY DANIELS
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MARGERET TINSDALE
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ROSE JAMERSON

OPENING HOURS

Tues & Thurs 8:00 – 5:45
Wed & Fri 8:00 – 5:45
Saturday  By Appointment

  (310) 622.4513

OFFICE LOCATION

WHY US?

We want to make our office an environment for optimal healing. We create an individually designed treatment plan for each patient that allows the body to be free of pain as quickly as possible.

Working with multiple disciplines, we use physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, and spinal massage therapy to attack stubborn problem areas specifically and quickly.

Once pain is resolved, we will work with you to correct postural imbalances that may have caused your symptoms in the first place. Most back pain stems from poor posture, correcting them will prevent a recurrence of pain.

We want all of our patients to live an active pain free life free from physical restriction.

Make An Appointment

We’re here for you and can schedule an appointment for you via email, text or phone. An initial appointment takes approximately 35 minutes.

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