Treating back pain with massage

Massage therapy is gaining popularity as a tool to help ease neck and back pain relief. People have enjoyed massages as a form of self-pampering and as a means to relax for decades. In recent years, massage therapy has been shown to carry many health benefits and functions as a nonsurgical treatment for back pain. However, keep in mind that not just any massage will help with back pain.

Be sure that your massage therapy has been approved by your doctor and is administered by a licensed and experienced massage therapist. Massage therapists receive in-depth training on the body’s muscular and skeletal systems, and are taught proper techniques for relieving pain without causing further damage. To learn more about the advantages of massages, read the following article.

Massage therapy benefits

The primary benefit of massage therapy is improved circulation. As the massage therapist stimulates the muscles at the injury site, blood flow increases. This increased blood flow helps bring in essential nutrients to assist with healing and removes damaged cell fragments and waste products stored in the soft tissues around the injury. Other benefits of massage therapy include:

  • Muscle relaxation. When your back is injured, the muscles surrounding it may seize up in an attempt to immobilize the injury so it can heal. This stiffness may be extremely painful and can limit range of motion. Massage releases tight muscles and restores range of motion and relieves pain.
  • Improved sleep. Looser muscles and reduced pain tend to contribute to better sleep, which can help the body heal itself.
  • Better mood. Massage releases endorphins, which are the neurotransmitters responsible for reducing pain signals from nerves and producing a feeling of wellbeing.

Types of massage

Different types of massage provide different benefits. Some of the more common types of massage, and their functions, include:

  • Swedish massage. A Swedish massage incorporates light stroking which follows the direction of blood that is returning to the heart. This type of massage relaxes the body, flushes lactic acid from muscles and stretched ligaments and tendons. Swedish massage is the most common form of massage in America.
  • Deep tissue massage. Deep tissue massage seeks to address chronic muscle tension. In deep tissue massage, the massage therapist slows his or her strokes to allow his or her body weight to produce deeper pressure on the muscles. The pressure acts to release tension.
  • Shiatsu massage. This form of massage therapy has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine and is closely related to acupressure. Shiatsu massage uses pressure exerted by the massage therapist’s fingers and thumbs to stimulate the immune system and promote the body’s natural healing functions.

Massage therapy is not right for everyone. If you have a fever, infection, cancer, angina or other conditions, you should not participate in massage therapy. Check with your doctor before beginning massage therapy to make sure you don’t have a condition that could be made worse by massage.

Alternatives to massage therapy

If conservative treatment strategies such as massage therapy or ultrasound therapy do not effectively relieve the pain caused by spinal stenosis, facet disease, or other spinal conditions, contact Laser Spine Institute. We can help you discover how you can recover your health without the need for open spine surgery.

At Laser Spine Institute, our spine care specialists can guide you through your treatment options so you can make a confident decision about the next step in your spine care health. To find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.*