Home > Alternative Treatments > Is Massage Therapy Right For You Back Pain?

Is Massage Therapy Right For You Back Pain?

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 12 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
Massage Therapy Back Pain Massage Chair

Although mainly thought of as a complementary therapy, massage therapy is now being accepted by healthcare providers as a legitimate method of assistance in fighting back pain. It may be very useful in chronic back pain management, but there is no evidence to suggest it being beneficial to episodes of acute back pain.There are three techniques, available to sufferers, of receiving massage therapy.

These are the hands-on massage therapy technique whereby another person administers the therapy, ice massage which can be performed independently, or the use of a massage chair.

Traditional Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has proven to help with the management of back pain as it lowers depression and anxiety therefore encouraging relaxation of the muscles so helping achieve a better sleeping pattern. Massage therapy also increases blood circulation allowing a boost of nutrients to the affected area of back pain (particularly beneficial to muscular injuries and strains) and also can help increase the range of movement of the sufferer. Massage therapy also stimulates the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killers, sometimes referred to as feel good chemicals.

Massage therapy can be anything from a gentle touch to a more rigorous exercising regime. Currently, there are no laws regarding the licensing needs of a massage therapist, so it can be performed by anyone. Care should be taken to find recommendations, preferably from a healthcare provider, for locating a fully trained massage therapist before any sessions are attended. Massage received from an untrained person may cause further damage.

A typical session costs between £30 and £80, with the average duration of treatment being 3 months.

Ice Massage For Back Pain

Ice massage is recommended to sufferers of back pain as it is free, easy and quick to administer. Particularly good for muscular sprains and used frequently in the treatment of sports injuries, it is achieved by placing an ice pack on the affected area. The cold stimulus results in blood vessels contracting and lowers circulation, when the ice pack is removed a sudden rush of blood to the area is encountered, bringing with it a large amount of nutrients necessary for healing. The cold is also useful for bringing a reduction in inflammation.

Caution must be taken using ice massage those suffering with paralysis, arthritis, Raynaud’s disease and those with altered sensation. Do not apply ice directly to the skin, always ensure there is a cloth between the two surfaces, and application time should be limited to a maximum of 15-20 minutes in one session, or a burn may occur.

Massage Chairs For Back Pain

Massage chairs provide a way of receiving massage therapy via an electronic device. It features the benefits of being able to be performed in the privacy of the sufferer's home, especially good when mobility is an issue, timing of massage chair sessions can be conveniently timed and equipment can be kept clean.

These massage chairs can be very expensive with some models commanding prices of up to £4,000, but cheaper second-hand alternatives can be found.

When purchasing a massage chair, ensure product training is received and if possible, installation.

Massage therapy of any method should not be performed on people suffering with skin infections, rashes, open wounds, sites of recent fracture, immediately following chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Medical advice should be sought first.

Massage therapy can be very beneficial in controlling pain levels in sufferers of back pain and each individual sufferer will discover whether it works for them.

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