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What kind of massage can help back pain?

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

One question patients often ask is: What kind of massage should I try?

Unlike classic massage therapy such as Swedish massage, which is used more for relaxation, Deep Tissue Massage and Neuromuscular Therapy focus on a specific problem, such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Limited mobility
  • Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls, sports injury)
  • Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Postural problems
  • Osteoarthritis pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Muscle tension or spasm

Deep Tissue Massage is a type of massage aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia, also called connective tissue. Deep tissue massage uses many of the same movements and techniques as Swedish massage, but the pressure will generally be more intense. Deep tissue massage is often recommended for individuals who experience consistent pain, are involved in heavy physical activity (such as athletes) and patients who have sustained physical injury. After the muscle is relaxed through massage therapy, the lactic acid will be released from the muscle, and the muscle should start receiving enough blood and oxygen.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Research shows that massage therapy provides several important health benefits, including:

  • Massage improves blood circulation, which aids in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity.
  • Massage relaxes muscles for an improved range of motion. The muscle relaxation also helps with insomnia.
  • Massage leads to increased endorphin levels. The increase of endorphin levels is actually one of the greatest benefits of massage therapy. Endorphins are the chemicals the body produces that make you feel good, which is very effective in managing chronic pain.

Rhoda Collins, RMT has many years of experience in Europe, Canada and the USA and is now owner of Home Comfort Therapy, Inc. in the Niagara Region providing therapy to patients to offer the comfort, convenience and security in their homes. www.HomeComfortTherapy.com and 905-359-2197.

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