By ANNE CHAO
The reason behind the rise in support for massage therapy to relieve back pain is simple: it works.
Back pain, especially low back pain, is a very common complaint among adults. Most adults report experiencing back pain at some point in their lives.
Anyone who suffers from back pain knows that even easy tasks can become difficult and painful, including bending over, tying shoelaces and lying down comfortably.
Massage therapy is clinically proven to decrease tension in the back and neck. In fact, numerous studies suggest the massage therapy relieves back pain and reduces inflammation.
A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine determined that low back pain sufferers who received one hour of weekly massage therapy for 10 weeks felt less pain than the group who had physical therapy and pain management. The benefits of these regular massage treatment relieved pain for up to 6 months or more.
Another study from the University of Kentucky and Indiana University showed similar results. Of the 104 individuals with persistent low back pain more than 50 percent of participants reported improvement after 10 massage therapy sessions over 12 weeks with a professional massage therapist. After 24 weeks 75 percent of the group said that they still felt better.
Working regular massage into your wellness plan improves how you feel for many reasons.
Massage treatments are designed to stretch and knead various layers of muscles and tendons. These movements break up the muscle knots and fibers, which provides relief.
Massage increases blood flow, helps muscles to recover more quickly and reduces soreness. Additionally, researchers believe that the benefits of massage reach beyond physical activity, because studies show that massage therapy improves vascular function for both active and inactive people.
Swedish massage and deep tissue massage methods have been found to be equally effective in reducing back pain. Both the massage and the relaxation experienced from having the massage are beneficial to someone with back pain.
Massage therapy, acupressure and trigger point therapy all release endorphins, or “happy” hormones, which creates a feeling of well-being and happiness. This phenomenon reduces pain levels, too. Just 15 minutes of massage therapy can result in up to two days of feeling good.
Superficial heat during massage enhances the benefits of massage therapy, also. Hot stones or hot towels can be included with a massage to optimize relaxing muscles and releasing tension.
At Massage Concepts, various add-on services, therapies and enhancements are available for you to personalize your massage session, such as hot stones, essential oils, Tiger Balm pain ointments, and CBD oil.
It can take weeks or even months to completely recover from a flare-up of back pain. In the meantime, massage offers relief in addition to conventional care, such as taking anti-inflammatory pain relievers, staying as active as possible, getting physical therapy, and waiting for the body to heal.
Regular massage therapy sessions are important to achieve optimal results. Discuss the best schedule with your healthcare provider and massage therapist.
Before adopting massage therapy as part of your wellness plan, always check with your doctor. Sometimes massage is not recommended for an individual due to specific health concerns.