Massage Therapy Can Help Ease Lower Back Pain

Back Massage Therapy

by Doctor

Lower back pain is a common complaint among adults. Pain in the lower region of the back is often a result of overuse or injury of muscles, ligaments and joints. Pressure on spinal nerves due to herniated discs, arthritis or other abnormalities of the spine are also possible causes of lower back pain. For many sufferers, chronic low back pain is difficult to treat with conventional medical approaches such as medication and physical therapy. New evidence supports massage therapy as a safe, effective treatment for lower back pain.

A study in the July 2011 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine found that massage provides lasting relief of lower back pain for most people participating in the study. Massage provides a few effects that help relieve pain:

  • Improved circulation helps sore muscles recover from physical activity and injury.
  • Muscle relaxation improves range of motion.
  • Increased endorphin levels reduce pain. Endorphins are body chemicals that decrease pain and increase feelings of euphoria or well-being.

Along with the above benefits, massage can have other effects that help relieve pain by promoting relaxation and relieving stress. Massage may stimulate tissue and calm the central nervous system. Relaxation of both mind and body can lead to improved sleep, which in turn promotes health and healing. Increased body awareness may help individuals avoid back pain triggers.

Several different types of massage are available, and all can help reduce lower back pain. Some forms of massage are gentle and meant to provide general relaxation. Others target specific areas or use specific methods to address more specific problems.

  • Swedish massage is gentle and focused on promoting relaxation. This type of massage uses long strokes and kneading, with some deep circular movements.
  • Structural, or deep-tissue, massage focuses on deep muscle and tissue to promote healing in muscles damaged by injury. Strokes of this type of massage are slower and more forceful.
  • Sports massage is a gentle massage commonly used to help athletes treat or prevent injuries related to sports.
  • Trigger point massage focuses on sensitive, tight areas of muscle that form after overuse or injury.

All types of massage therapy are able to provide relief from lower back pain. The best form of massage for any individual depends on symptoms, general physical condition and personal preferences.

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