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Massage Therapy For Back Pain: Here’s What You Need To Know

Anyone who’s suffered from back pain knows how debilitating it can be. Whether it’s lower back pain caused by an old injury or a tight knot from sleeping in an odd position, a sore back can wreak havoc on your day. But instead of suffering through the pain, a back massage can help you return to feeling normal.

Here’s a look at how massage therapy can help relieve different types of back pain, and some tips to help you book the right kind of service,

Types of Back Pain

Unfortunately, there are many things in life that can cause a sore back. And all of these things can lead to different types of back pain. These are a few reasons why you might be feeling discomfort:

  • Overall stiffness from lack of mobility
  • Soreness from overuse
  • Strains from bad posture
  • Inflammation (generally in the lower back)
  • Sciatica pain from pinching or compression in the lower back

Of course, every person is different. If you’re experiencing recurring, chronic pain, it could be a good idea to consult with your doctor. They may recommend some of the back massage techniques listed below, or provide further guidance.

Can Massage Help With Back Pain?

Yes! Studies have found that proper massage therapy can provide relief for different types of back pain, including lower back pain and overall soreness.

However, it’s important to note that a massage won’t necessarily solve all types of back pain. If you’re suffering from issues related to your spine, bones, or organs, be mindful that massage may not be the best course of action.

Since it can be difficult to recommend a specific kind of massage without more information from the client, having a knowledgeable and experienced massage therapist is a crucial part of getting the best relief possible.

Benefits of Back Massages

When massage is the best course of action, there are a number of reasons why it helps to relieve back pain.

1. Increases blood flow.

When blood flow is limited, soft tissues will contract over time. This means muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia will start to tense up and cause pain. Massage therapy addresses this by using back massage techniques by increasing blood flow and bringing circulation back to those areas. 

2. Relieves muscle tension.

From sitting to sleeping to hunching your shoulders over your computer all day long, muscles can become tight and stiff over time. Massage can help relax that back pressure, helping it come back to its natural, un-tense state.

3. Lowers stress.

Stress is unfortunately a part of most of our lives. It commonly appears in our body through physical pain, often in the low back and shoulders. A relaxing massage not only helps your muscles decompress, but it can help your mind unwind, as well. If you can leave a massage feeling less stressed, you’ll likely find that the tight areas in your back are causing you less pain.

Types of Back Massages to Relieve Pain

Depending on what kind of pain you’re experiencing, there are a few types of massage therapy to help a sore back.

1. Swedish massage

One of the most common types of massage therapy, a Swedish massage is relaxing and known for relieving muscle tension. The massage therapist uses gliding strokes and circular motions to work through your soft tissues and muscles. This is helpful in releasing back pressure and pain in over-stressed areas.

2. Deep tissue massage

Similar to a Swedish massage, a deep tissue massage takes things to a higher intensity. The massage therapist still uses their hands to work through the muscles, but they will use more pressure. This allows them to access deeper layers of the muscles. Although it can lead to greater relaxation in the end, it can be pretty intense in the moment.

3. Sports massage

Although these are especially great for athletes, anyone can benefit from a sports massage. They’re geared towards improving and stimulating blood flow, aiding in muscle recovery, addressing injuries, and loosening muscles. If you struggle with a range of motion or mobility, this may be a good option for you.

4. Point massage

Focusing on relieving knots within the muscles, a trigger point massage can do wonders for loosening tight points of the back. Knots can lead to decreased circulation, cause pain in other areas of the body, and limit range of motion. By focusing on a few spots in particular, the massage therapist can relax these stiff sections.

Other massage techniques for back pain

On top of these massage techniques, a therapist may suggest additional methods to enhance your session. 

  • Hot stones are commonly placed along the spine during a Swedish massage, as heat has been shown to provide pain relief and increase flexibility in the lower back.
  • Percussive therapy – which has become more common with handheld devices like Theragun – can also be used on the back. However, you want to be sure someone with experience is providing the service, as the spine can be a sensitive area for percussion.
  • Oils and lotions can go a long way in providing extra relief. CBD has become popular in the massage world for promoting more relaxation.

How to Find a Professional

Depending on the type of back pain you’re experiencing, you may want to look for specific qualities in a massage therapist. Consider what their background and/or specificity is. Have they worked with athletes before, or are they familiar with treating Sciatic pain? Asking a few questions before you book your appointment can go a long way in ensuring you receive the best treatment for your issue.

If you don’t want to go out to a spa for your massage – after all, back pain can make it painful to walk out the door and drive – consider bringing a massage therapist to your home. With Soothe, you can book a professional massage therapist to come to your house. You don’t have to deal with excess movement, helping you find relief as painlessly as possible.

Soothe makes it simple to address your back pain issues, no matter when they arise. You can book a massage in over 70+ different cities throughout the world, planning it weeks in advance or reserving a same-day session. Download the Soothe App to get started!