Back pain happens to almost everyone at some point. In fact, when looking for information on massage, more people search for "back massage" than for shoulders, knees, hands, neck or any other part of the body.
Your back has so many hard-working muscles and ligaments that it's easy to experience strain and pain in different areas throughout your life. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in the United States. And the American Chiropractic Association estimates that eight of every ten people are troubled by back pain at some point.
Studying Back Pain
The Journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians reports that when controlled studies tested the effects of therapeutic massage, it was found that people experiencing back pain received greater relief from soft tissue manipulation and massage than from a placebo.
When a study in the International Journal of Neuroscience compared massage therapy to muscle relaxation, the group of test subjects who received massage reported feeling less anxiety, pain and depression than people in the other group.
Massage can help alleviate the muscle spasms which occur when your rib or thoracic joints lose mobility, thereby helping those joints function better. It's even possible to increase the mobility of your sacroiliac joint or tailbone by massaging the gluteal muscles and releasing tension in the tissues.
Along with enhancing other types of medical treatment, back massage therapy can provide significant relief of incidental or chronic pain. Whether chronic pain is due to limited mobility of the vertebral, pelvic and rib joints or to compression of nerves through muscle spasm, disease or structural dysfunction, it helps to find a professional therapist who's experienced in back massage.
Relaxation and Wellness
In addition to pain relief, massage can provide other benefits. Massage Envy takes a proactive role in improving your overall health, because regular massage therapy helps your body maintain a higher level of relaxation. This helps reduce stress, improve sleep and increase the endorphins that act as natural mood boosters.
Your body can function better after a massage because of increased circulation, which brings newly oxygenated blood to your muscles and transports metabolic waste away from your internal organs. Back massage therapy also provides greater flexibility, since relaxed muscles and limber joints allow for improved range of motion.
Types of Massage
Depending on your goals and situation, your massage therapist may recommend one specific type of massage or a blend of several. These include:
- Swedish or Relaxation Massage -- the most common in America with gentle, light to medium pressure
- Deep Tissue Massage -- deeper pressure across the grain of your muscles
- Hot Stone Envy® -- which uses smooth, water-heated stones to increase circulation and relax muscles
Each type of massage has its own benefits, so be sure to discuss your back pain with your therapist. You may decide on one particular massage style and repeat it with every visit, or you may decide to combine various styles at different times. Either way, you'll discover how back massage can make you feel more relaxed and relieved of pain, stress and tension