Massage for Low Back Pain
Have low back aches and discomfort become the painful focus of your day? You can try over the counter muscle relaxant or anti-inflammatory medications to provide some measure of temporary relief, but for more lasting results, massage therapy comes highly recommended. It can be extremely helpful in cases of both acute and chronic low back pain to relax muscle spasm and decrease pain.
What Causes Your Low Back Pain?
Many circumstances, including being overweight, being out of shape, emotional stress or even having a severe cough or sneezing, can lead to low back pain and discomfort. Some activities such as lifting heavy objects can directly and adversely affect lumbar muscles responsible for pelvic stability and structural alignment.
Here are a few low back pain triggers:
- improper posture, like sitting slumped in a chair
- sitting in the same position for long periods of time
- leaning over something while lifting (picking up groceries out of a car trunk, for instance)
- repeated bending or crouching
- prolonged leaning (as over a sink while washing the dishes)
- extreme physical exertion
- running on uneven pavement
Be sure to consult your physician to rule out the need for medical treatment, because there are many other more serious causes for low back pain. These include spinal fractures, infections and tumor. Also, deep tissue massage may not be recommended for acute low back strain with severely inflamed muscles which need to be gently treated before any assertive massage techniques can be administered.
Easing Low Back Pain With Massage
In many occasions, your massage therapist will use a combination of stroking, compression, and kneading massage techniques to help relax your muscles. For chronic or recurrent low back pain, deep tissue massage and transverse friction techniques may be employed to decrease tissue adhesions and address deeper muscle tightness. Generally, one to two massage sessions weekly are recommended in order to achieve best initial results.
Communication will play a vital role in ensuring you get the most out of the sessions. The applied pressure should never be overly painful. So, let the therapist know if it is too much or too little; and if the pain seems to be getting better or worse. A good therapist will listen and adjust the technique accordingly.
The greatest benefit massage therapy provides is an increase in endorphin, serotonin and dopamine levels. These “feel good” chemicals are very effective in managing chronic pain. Other benefits you derive may include:
- reduce depression and anxiety
- improve sleep from muscle relaxation
- improve range of motion
- improve blood circulation to carry oxygen to muscles
- improve lymphatic flow to remove wastes and toxins
- relieve muscle soreness
When it comes to low back pain, there are ways to effectively manage this common complaint so it doesn’t ruin your quality of life. Most healthcare providers such as chiropractic doctors recognize massage therapy as a legitimate aid for lower back pain and an effective adjunct to conventional lower back pain treatments.