Ah, massage. I do like a really good back massage. No, let me correct myself - I really love a good back massage... And I'm not alone - the benefits of massage have been long recognised. Hippocrates recommended "a scented bath and an oiled masage every day" 2,400 years ago!
But is massage any good for relieving my back pain? Well, to be honest that's a slightly different story...
There are several different schools of massage, including shiatsu massage, sports massage, Indian head massages and the general beauty massages (which include aromatherapy massages and other luxuries).
While they're all subtly different, they all involve gentle skin-to-skin contact and manipulation, with varying degrees of pressure applied. And I love it. In fact, I've never had a massage I haven't enjoyed.
The benefits of massage for back pain sufferers, include:
- It feels really good.
- Massage increases blood flow and circulation, which aids sore muscles and the recovery of soft tissue injury.
- Massage feels really, really good.
- Massage decreases muscle tension. This muscle relaxation can improve flexibility, reduce pain and may even improve sleep.
- It feels really good - by increasing endorphin levels in the brain. Boosting your endorphin levels can ease depression and anxiety, which can help reduce pain and speed recovery.
- And of course, it feels really good.
Perhaps one of the best things about massage is that it costs very little. All you need is a little oil and a willing partner and you can have as many back massages as you need. (You do need to be a little careful, but if you're sensible you shouldn't have any problems at all. See also Marlene's comments below.)
But have I found massage any good at relieving my back pain?
Well, the short answer is no, not really. I do love it because it makes me feel good, but any benefit is very short-lived. So rather than treat massage as therapy for my back, I consider it a luxury that I indulge in every now and again.
Massage Hints and Tips
- Get a book on massage - you'll find that a book will give you some useful tips and will also give you some ideas for things you can try.
Your stories about massage
- Marlene writes: "A registered Massage Therapist in British Columbia, CA. must complete 3,000 hours of training over three years at an accredited college. They are among the most educated and highly trained proffessionals in the world. Therefore, if you have just had a massage by an unregistered individual or the next door neighbour that has a good massage book, you have put yourself in a position to do serious injury to your back. (Many spas do not hire registered massage therapists because most spas are for relaxing and not used for injuries.) If you require work on your back it is your responsibility to check out the persons reputation and credentials..."
If you have any stories or comments (or even tips) about using massage to help your back pain (and whether they helped your back pain), please share them with me and I'll add them to this site. Click here to share your story.
Massage linksFort Lauderdale Chiropractor Dr. Rick Bruns offers massage therapy, physical therapy, back and neck pain, work and auto injuries, headaches and much more for Ft. Lauderdale and surrounding area residents. Call us at (954) 764-8505.
Written by Steve Hatherley.