The participants selected for massage treatment for back pain (two groups total) received weekly massages that targeted specific muscle problems around the lower back and hips.
- After 10 weeks of treatment for back pain, those who received massage therapy reported greater improvements in pain and functioning compared to those who did not receive massage.
- Additionally, 36 percent and 39 percent of patients in the massage groups said their pain was “nearly or completely gone” after 10 weeks of treatment, compared to only 4 percent of those in the “usual care” group.
This is exciting news, as concurrent studies show that few medical approaches (pain-killers, cortisone injections, and even surgery) result in lasting success. In fact, some of these options can even make the condition worse, which explains why more and more people are turning to massage therapy as a safe and effective treatment.
One of the benefits that massage therapy for back pain has over other pain-management approaches is that a licensed massage therapist (LMT) can trace the cause of your back pain, which is often elusive. Back pain has a myriad of symptoms which can be treated by massage for back pain:
- Lower back pain
- Middle back pain
- Upper back pain
- Low back pain with sciatica
And the causes range as much as the symptoms do: nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease, arthritis, and even abdominal problems.
In order to truly relieve your back pain, one must find the source. Often times an associated restriction (such as hip tightness) and poor body mechanics (the way you move) play a crucial role. Even just slouching at your desk day in and day out can cause chronic back pain. This is why a skilled back pain massage therapist will have keen insight on your personal body mechanics, in addition to understanding the body’s anatomy.
It is my professional approach to always evaluate the whole body when treating a patient. Often this leads to surprising discoveries:
- An office worker complaining of back pain realizes that the problem lies in his shoulders.
- A runner with pain shooting down one leg realizes that her gluteal muscles are too tight.
The list goes on and on. But this is the beauty of massage therapy – the ability to gently locate the pain, trace its origins and knead it away with your hands. How can a pill compete with that?