Research On Massage Therapy
A July 2001 survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association found that the number of adults receiving massages from a massage therapist more than doubled since 1997.
Most healthcare providers are recognizing massage therapy as a legitimate aid for lower back pain and an effective adjunct to lower back treatments. Fifty-four percent of healthcare providers say they will encourage their patients to pursue massage therapy in addition to medical treatment.
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A study on massage and back pain conducted at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami in 2001 found that: “Massage lessened lower back pain, depression and anxiety, and improved sleep. The massage therapy group also showed improved range of motion and their serotonin and dopamine levels were higher.”
Can A Massage Do More Harm Than Good
Medical reporter Lori Lyle explains. Done right, massage can help with everything from stress and migraines to serious illnesses like Parkinsons and sickle cell anemia. But a bad massage can actually hurt nerves and cause muscle spasms and inflammation.
Can massage make everything worse?
Massage is like exercise: it forces blood into your muscles, bringing in nutrients and removing toxins. This process can temporarily increase inflammation in areas that the body thinks need attention. This inflammation can cause discomfort.
Why not get a massage?
Tell the therapist if you have these disorders. Infectious skin conditions Other skin conditions Problems with the circulatory system Problems with the digestive system
How To Increase The Effectiveness Of Massage For Lower Back Pain
The following tips may help you maximize the benefits of massage therapy for lower back pain:
- Stretch Out First
Warm up your muscles to make massage easier and more comfortable. We recommend a program of gentle stretches for the lower back.
- Apply Lotion or Oil
To reduce friction on your skin, use a natural oil or lotion. Almond oil is a good choice and one that many professional massage therapists use. For stubborn back pain, try using a pain relief cream.
- Relax and Breathe
Focus on your breathing during the massage, especially when the therapist is working on very tense or tight areas. This will keep you calm and encourage the muscles to relax.
- Rest and Hydrate
Give your body time to heal following the treatment. Rest if you can and be sure to drink plenty of water or herbal tea throughout the day.
- Know your Limits
If massage is causing back pain, then you should stop the treatment immediately and see your doctor. While some discomfort during deep tissue massage is normal, it should not hurt.
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Gluteus Medius Muscle Massage
The gluteus medius is a posterior hip muscle. This muscle is a hip abductor,3,4 allowing you to lift your thigh and leg sideways, such as while getting out of a car. It is also responsible for keeping your hips leveled while standing on one leg . The biomechanics of the hip and spine are interconnected a problem in your hip muscles can cause pain in your lower back.2
- Repetitive trauma to the muscle form running on soft surfaces
- Overuse of exercise equipment that requires hip abduction
- Sudden, strenuous physical activity
- Previous injury to the muscle
- Blunt trauma from hitting
Gluteus medius muscle pain mainly affects your lower back and buttocks. The pain may also be referred into the back of your thigh. Stiffness and fatigue are also commonly present, limiting the movement of your lower back and/or walking capacity.5
Ask your therapist to focus on the quadratus lumborum and gluteus medius muscles when you decide to have massage therapy for lower back pain. The muscles of the lower back and hip are interconnected for proper functioning. Unless a specific muscle is injured from direct trauma, it is more likely that the entire set of muscles are affected by fatigue, stress, and altered function.1
Stretches For Lower Back Pain
What causes lower back pain? In general, the static position of sitting naturally leads to poor posture and strains the lower back. If youre wondering how to relieve the pain in this area, lower back stretches are a good place to start. Here are three:
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Stubborn Low Back Pain
Studies estimate that as many as 80% of adults will experience an episode of low back pain in their lifetimes.
In most cases, the pain will go away without any treatment in two to four weeks. About 14% of the time, however, low back pain lingers, sometimes without a readily identified cause.
Relatively few medical interventions have been proven to reliably help back pain, and it is considered to be one of the most overtreated ailments in American medicine.
“Over the last 15 years or so, there’s been a steady increase in the use surgery, prescribing of opioids, in the use of injections in the use of spine imaging,” Deyo says, “and overall, population-wide, it doesn’t seem to have helped very much in reducing the impact of back problems.”
That’s why it’s especially promising to find benefit in a noninvasive therapy like massage, he says.
The study found that the 10 treatments received by study participants would have cost about $540 in the community. Massage isn’t typically covered by insurance.
The benefits appeared to persist for four months after the course of treatment was completed.
“I think it’s true that wherever we can find alternatives that seem to be helpful, it’s likely to be a useful thing for clinicians,” Deyo says.
How Can Massage Help Relieve Lower Back Pain
There is research to support the fact that massage therapy can be used to relieve lower back pain². Therapeutic massage can be used to help in the treatment of lower back pain, providing short-term relief or even resolving mild episodes of lower back pain. Below are some potential ways massage can help relieve back pain:
Relaxes tight muscles
Helps remove the build of pain-causing chemicals, such as lactate³ and acetylcholine
Relieves the feelings of stress and anxiety
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How Does A Lower Back Massage Help Stress
Stress is relieved through lower back massage. The body can be both mentally and physically affected by stress. A common sign of stress in the body is muscle tension. Muscle tension can become painful if not treated.
A lower back massage aims to reduce stress by relieving muscle tightness and psychologically relieving stress.
A lower back massage helps loosen muscles and relieve tension. Muscle tightness and tension is relieved as the temperature of the muscles is increased. Muscle temperature is increased due to an increase in blood circulation. When muscle temperature increases, an improvement in tissue elasticity and flexibility occurs. Improving tissue elasticity and flexibility reduces restriction, relieving tension and tightness in the muscles. Reducing tension and tightness physically reduces stress.
A lower back massage also helps reduce stress psychologically. A lower back massage decreases the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a negative hormone that can increase levels of anxiety and depression as well as stress. During a lower back massage, cortisol is reduced allowing the body to mentally relax and become stress free.
Types And Styles Of Massage
There are two basic types of massage: whole body and structural. The whole body massage promotes general relaxation. The spine massage techniques that target specific muscles and connective tissue are called structural massages. A structural massage that targets the muscles from the buttocks and up to the neck is effective for relieving lower back pain.
Some massage styles include the whole body with a special focus on a targeted area. However, all massage styles have the likelihood of helping to relieve pain. The best style to have the most impact depends on what is causing the pain and preferences of the patient or client. The various styles of massage include, but are not limited to:
- Swedish massage a whole body gentle massage for relaxation and to relieve muscle knots.
- Shiatsu massage a Japanese style whole body massage using pulsing pressure and includes a focus on areas of the body needing attention.
- Trigger point massage the whole body that includes an extra focus on specific areas of pain caused by tightness in muscle tissues.
- Deep tissue massage a whole-body massage that uses pressure to relieve tension in deeper layers of connective tissues and muscles.
There are other styles of massage, like Reflexology and Sports Massage, but the ones listed are some of the more common. For people who experience back pain, massage therapy can bring much-needed relief. There is no set amount of sessions recommended because each situation is different.
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The Best Massage For Lower Back Pain
A long-term approach is needed when treating lower back pain with massage, especially when dealing with chronic cases.
The most effective massage techniques for lower back pain includes sports massage, remedial massage and deep tissue massage.
If back pain is injury-related, then deep tissue massage can help treat the injury that caused the pain and also address any other factors such as muscle imbalance or weakness.
Your massage therapist will be able to assess your muscular tissue and apply the appropriate massage technique or combination of techniques that will give you the most effective pain management and reduction.
A qualified massage therapist will know how to give a good massage for lower back pain that will target the pain at the source. They can also help to guide you on recovery and management techniques that you can carry with you in your daily life. This can include anything from proper form and technique when carrying or lifting heavy weight, to self-massage techniques to use at home, and correct posture when sitting and standing.
Causes Of Lower Back Pain
The reason for your lower back pain may be temporary like spending extra time in the yard to prep for gardening season or you may have a chronic condition that leads to low back pain. Aside from injury, there are a number of risk factors that make it more likely you will experience low back pain. Risk factors include pregnancy, weight gain, being between 30 and 50 years old, having a job that requires heavy lifting or pushing, having pre-existing mental health issues like anxiety and depression, and sitting in a chair all day with poor posture and minimal back support.
Most back pain is acute and lasts a few days to a few weeks. If youre experiencing symptoms for longer than that, you may have whats called chronic low back pain. In either case, the inconvenience and discomfort from back pain can be debilitating.
So whats the solution for improving your low back pain?
One common solution for back pain is surgery. But even though Americans spend over $40 billion on back pain surgery every year, results are far from guaranteed. One study found that surgery for back pain was successful just 26% of the time. Sufferers of back pain are also sometimes prescribed powerful painkillers like opioids. While opioids can lessen pain, their use incurs other risks, like addiction.
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Using A Body Massager
A body massager like the MedMassager MMB05 can help you get low back pain relief in the comfort of your own home.
Heres how to get started:
- Find a comfortable chair with a high back.
- Turn the massager onto a low-pressure setting, and line it up with your lower back.
- Lean back and relax for 5 to 15 minutes, letting the oscillating motions work deeply into your soft tissue.
- Alternatively, you can hold the massager behind your back and gently float it over any areas of discomfort.
How To Perform A Self
Although regular sessions with a qualified massage therapist are best, there are a variety of ways you can practice self-massage for lower back pain at home. Just as with massage by a trained therapist, let your comfort be your guide.
While self-massage might be a little uncomfortable, depending on the technique, it should not hurt so much that it leaves you sore or breathless. As you massage, take slow, deep breaths for even more release and relaxation.
Try these techniques between regular massage appointments.
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Common Types Of Massages
The following are the main types of massage therapy techniques:
1. Swedish massage
This is great for those who havent had much experience with massage. It involves a combination of tapping, deep, circular motions, and kneading strokes of the muscles, which may be more soothing for those who are more sensitive to pressure and pain. Given the relaxing nature of the treatment, most people with lower back pain can tolerate this type of treatment. However, each massage therapist varies in their approach.
2. Deep-tissue massage
Deep-tissue massage involves applying greater pressure to the muscles when compared to the Swedish massage. The increased pressure allows the therapist to target deeper muscles and soft tissue. Those with a higher tolerance to pain may prefer this type of treatment. However, there is also a higher chance of some temporary discomfort after treatment. Given the intensity of the treatment, patients have also anecdotally reported a quicker recovery.
3. Trigger point massage
This type of massage helps relieve pain by targeting trigger points in the body. These are specific areas where the muscles are particularly tight, which can lead to pain in the rest of the body. For example, tightness in the hamstring can sometimes lead to lower back pain and stiffness.
4. Shiatsu massage
5. Therapeutic massage
Muscles In The Lower Back
The lower back consists of five spinal vertebrae, which are cushioned by intervertebral discs. The ligaments maintain the vertebrae in place, while tendons attach muscles to bones.
There are two major muscles that work together to stabilize and support the spine and hips. They are the quadratus lumborum muscle in the lower back and the gluteus medius in the buttocks. When these muscles are strained, they feel stiff, tired, and painful.
Though disease, like spinal disc degeneration, can cause low pain, the most common reasons for muscle strain include sitting with poor posture for hours at a time, lifting heavy items improperly, and not maintaining strong back muscles through regular exercise. Stress can also cause tense or tight muscles, which are more prone to injury.
Low back pain can interfere with even simple activities, like bending forward to tie shoes or working at a computer.
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What Are The Best Types Of Massage For Lower Back Pain
The best massage for lower back works hard to address tight, sore, sticky tissues with the appropriate level of pressure for each person.
While chronic lower back pain can be treated by massage, not all styles of massage are good for all types of pain. And the effects of massage vary due to differences in techniques and the skill of the therapist.
Common types of massage therapy include:
- Myofascial release
- Craniosacral therapy
Here are five types of pain management massage that can help with different types of pain, including back pain and neck pain .
Mighty Bliss Cordless Massager
- Price: $$$
- Distinguishing features: This handheld massager comes with six different massage heads. You can apply however much pressure you want on any part of your body with a percussion massage.
- Target areas treated: anywhere
- Heat: no
- Safety: can be removed at any time, and intensity depends on how firmly you apply it
- Usability and versatility: The device can be moved to different parts of the body, with a selection of different massager heads. The lithium-ion rechargeable battery makes this device very portable.
- Reviews: more than 11,000 reviews, with 82 percent 5 stars
- Cons: You must hold this device in position to use, so it could be difficult for those who cant hold it in place or to reach out-of-the-way areas.
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Overview Of The Massage Therapy
There is no doubt that massage therapy helps millions of people with a variety of back and lower back pain-related issues. This includes muscle tension, muscle spasms, inflammation, aches, stiffness, and pain.
But there are a couple of common lingering questions that seem to persist with everybody. What the question is? Yes, youve guessed it right!
Does it work? Does massage provide permanent relief from lower back pain?
To answer your first question, yes it works and for the second question, yes it has the ability to provide permanent relief from lower back pain.
Having said that, finding the right massage therapist and popular massage spa is the first and foremost thing you should figure out carefully, in order to one, understand your pain-related issues, two, which areas you feel pain in your lower back, three, what muscles to be worked out, and fore, what massage to apply that will give you a permanent solution from your lower back pain related problems.
To find the right massage therapist, you must have some knowledge of how massage actually takes place.
Massage actually takes place using hands or specialized tools, and with that, a massage therapist kneads, rubs, and strokes the affected muscles/area to increase blood flow/circulation throughout the body. This, in turn, delivers oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and helps to eliminate any acids or other waste products that accumulate there, thereby it aids in faster and lasting relief from pain.