Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Does Massage Help Back Pain

How To Create Lasting Change

Which Massage Balls Help With Back Pain

The question you probably have now is one I get asked all the time: If someone is at a high level of pain and you dont want to create more pain and inflammation, then what kind of bodywork do you apply that creates lasting change in pain and inflammation?

The answer: indirect applications, the techniques that seem to affect pain from a distance for what your client complains of.

I always tell my students to use the technique that works. That could be the Pain Patterns and Solutions techniques I teach, or it could mean several other tools in your massage toolbox. It all depends on how the client responds. The only way you will know which technique works is to check before-and-after pain levels. That is your undeniable proof.

When you decrease pain, you decrease inflammation. Then the body has more energy to heal itself. Watch for what takes pain from an eight to a four in that session, then from a seven to a three in the next session, then a six to a two, and so on.

Massage Guns Pros & Cons

Heres the bottom line:

A massage gun is great for muscle recovery after working out and makes a very efficient sports massager for athletes. If used cautiously, it can help greatly for people with chronic back pain from sciatica, arthritis, muscle strain, and back stiffness.

But, if you suffer from severe muscle pain, use carefully and on low settings to avoid further damage to your back muscles.


  • A few minutes of daily treatment is enough to get the benefits
  • Portable and can be taken to work or travel and use anywhere


  • May cause further injuries if not used properly or overused
  • Is not fit for people with low pain tolerance

If youve decided that a massage gun is right for you, we saved you a lot of time and found the 5 most versatile massage guns for back pain, all of them have a low-intensity option, which we found to be safer for back injuries treatment.

> > > 1 Unlikely Stretch Wipes Out Sciatica

Surgical interventions to correct spinal deformity include spinal fusion, which is a surgical procedure that uses bone graft to replace a disc. After undergoing surgery, your back will require physical therapy for three to six months. In addition to doctors and dentists, you can also see neurologists, physiatrists, and chiropractors. These specialists specialize in the brain and spinal cord disorders. They are often the best choice for patients seeking treatment for back pain.

Non-specific back pain is usually not diagnosed until the pain is long-term. There is no clear cause for non-specific back pain, but doctors should seek a diagnosis to treat the condition. It is important to visit a specialist for treatment in order to get the best treatment options. If the pain is chronic or has no specific cause, a doctor will perform diagnostic imaging to help identify the exact source of the pain. Further, they can perform MRIs to help diagnose underlying conditions.

While back pain is a common ailment, it can also be caused by something else. Many people experience sciatica or other pain in the leg, and a slipped disc could be the cause. Other types of back pain may be more acute, such as a herniated disc. For nonspecific back pain, a doctor may need to perform radiological imaging to diagnose the exact cause of the pain.

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The Benefits Of Massage Therapy For Back Pain

Are you looking for new ways to help ease your back or neck pain? The growing popularity of massage therapy has many sufferers of chronic back pain taking notice. After all, just about anyone can get a massage. And, studies show that more people than ever before are benefiting from the advantages of massage therapy.

Whats New In This Article

Does Massage Help Lower Back Pain

This is one of the oldest articles on PainScience.com, with bits and pieces of it dating back to the late 90s .

2021 Edited: Proofreading and minor editorial polish.

2021 Added a myth: Added an old massage myth I should have added long ago: the idea that rubbing certain acupuncture points can induce labour. It really cant. Just not a thing.

2020 Added information: Compared and contrasted the practice of massage in other manual therapy professions like chiropractic, osteopathy, and physiotherapy.

  • Cascio CJ, Moore D, McGlone F. Social touch and human development. Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2019 02 35:511. PubMed #29731417 PainSci #52553

    In contrast to the dearth of evidence about massage in particular, there is an avalanche of research about the neurobiology and pscyhology of touch. The entire paper is relevant, but for an excellent overview of the effect of touch on growth and development in particular, see section 4, Social touch over the human lifespan.

  • Example: Despite their rationality, these therapists are usually factoring out several snake oils, because they assume they are legit, and have never gotten around to examining that assumption. For instance, they may consider energy work to be nonsense, but assume that acupuncture is evidence-based a common and understandable mistake, but a mistake nevertheless. See Does Acupuncture Work for Pain?.
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    How Does A Lower Back Massage Increase Range Of Movement

    A lower back massage can increase range of movement. When muscles become tight due to overuse or injury, they can become painful restrictive.

    A lower back massage aims to increase range of movement by relieving muscle tightness.

    A lower back massage increases the temperature of muscles, improving tissue elasticity and flexibility around a joint. Improving tissue elasticity and joint flexibility relieves muscle tightness. Relieving muscle tightness reduces pain and restriction therefore increasing range of movement.

    Massage For Fibromyalgia Is Not Very Promising

    Fibromyalgia is a condition of widespread body pain, severe fatigue, and mental fog. Its existence used to be controversial, but no longer: it is a widely acknowledged phenomenon. Now the mysteries and controversies swirl around its nature and treatment. But it seems like a massage-friendly condition.

    Massage is reputed to be helpful, and certainly many fibromyalgia patients seek it out . Like low back pain, it seems like massage should be able to help with fibromyalgia. Surely massage can help soothe the frazzled nerves of a uninjured patient whose primary symptom is pain? And if it cant, what good is it?

    A 2014 Chinese review of studies by Li et al54 is mainly a good example of what a shabby state massage therapy research is in. This paper proves nothing about massage its straightforwardly inconclusive. It has a positive sounding conclusion that isnt really justified and there are major caveats.

    But it doesnt mean that I wouldnt go get me some massage if I had fibromyalgia. I probably would! But this is about the science, so here goes:

    This review is somewhat novel in that it includes some Chinese research, but it doesnt really help. The introduction curiously boasts that traditional Chinese massage is one of the most ancient massage therapies, but there is not enough distinctive about Chinese massage that makes it worthy of any focus, and massage is ancient in every culture. This weird, prominently placed statement is a red flag: biased interpretation ahead!

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    The Many Myths Of Massage Therapy

    Massage therapists, and others in the holistic arts seem to be a particularly gullible bunch. And there are a lot of people who have seized upon that, and marketed their products, their classes, their modalities, and their wild claims to us and many of us have fallen for it, hook, line and sinker and unfortunately, gone on to convince our clients to buy into it, as well. Our profession has turned into the snake oil medicine show.

    Excuse me, exactly how does that work?, by Laura Allen

    In addition to the many not-really-massage therapies that massage therapists may offer, there are also many claims that massage therapists make about massage itself that are all-too-questionable. The scientific case against massage largely consists of debunking the list of lame claims that define it to a surprising degree and if you take them away, theres not a great deal left. Most are just carelessly perpetuated minor myths. Some are not entirely or definitely wrong, but when presented to patients, are often misleading exaggerations and oversimplifications. For instance, massage probably does sometimes modestly increase circulation just too little and too erratically to matter. It all adds up to a pattern of intellectual laziness in the profession that undermines its credibility and legitimacy.

    And to conclude, a sort of political myth:


    I Am A Passionate Teacher Of Advanced Pain

    Simple Back Pain Massage Exercise to do At Home

    One of the first things I explain to a student taking my classes is how pain is only an indication of something not working correctlynot an automatic invitation to work on it.

    The other thing I teach is that if you can effectively reduce pain, you can effectively reduce inflammation. It is rarely the other way around when you are using natural healing techniques on an inflamed body.

    The reason for this is that many of the biological processes of inflammation are turned on by the pain signal and its sensation. If the pain signal goes down, those inflammation processes decrease as well.

    I know this concept might seem backwardshow are you supposed to get rid of pain in the low back if you dont do some deep back work to release muscles, tendons, trigger points or fascial restrictions?

    This is where I teach not what to do, but when to do the correct type of work for a client in the pain and inflammation cycle. If pain is a signal for inflammation to start, then you must limit how much pain you give someone in higher levels of inflammation, or you just feed the fire.

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    Can You Use A Massage Gun For Arthritis/pinched Nerves/sciatica

    Using a high-end powerful massage gun for back injuries such as sciatica or arthritis may sometimes cause more harm than good. The more power and pressure does not mean the better the treatment, and you may actually be overstraining an already jeopardized structure.

    According to Theragun founder, Dr. Jason Wersland, you should treat the side where you feel pain focusing on the low back, hamstrings, and calves for one minute each. He also created a Sciatica protocol inside the Therabody app to use it safely and effectively.

    We recommend using a lower intensity massage gun and make sure to not touch your spine at all.

    Alternatively, you can try a vibrating foam roller, so you can control the intensity of massage with your body weight!

    Get Your Free PDF The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain Relief at Home!

    Economic Pressure And The Stereotype Of Hippy Health Care

    Even in places with high training standards, massage therapists almost always have to sell themselves to clients who are paying hard-earned cash, so its not hard to see why massage therapists become habitually overzealous in promoting therapeutic services for which there is little evidence, no evidence, or only a mess of controversial evidence.

    The road to intellectual dishonesty is paved with good intentions. When I worked as a therapist, there were times when confession! I didnt bother to explain to a patient that I was selling them a dubious approach to therapy . Sometimes it seemed okay because the atmosphere of experimental treatment was thick already, with a desperate patient who had low expectations and was pretty much there to try anything. But it was still dishonest, and Im ashamed of those times. After all, if patients were my experimental research subjects, shouldn’t I have been paying them?

    For the unwary, such dishonesty can become routine.

    If scientifically unsupportable practices are surprisingly among common medical massage therapists, they are close to universal among barely-trained and untrained bodyworkers. Many of them aspire to greater skill, but usually dont do so by studying orthopedics and physical therapy a project that could occupy anyone for a lifetime but instead by increasing their repertoire of certifications in proprietary hands-on techniques, most of which are either silly and/or medically unimportant .

    Part 3

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    Where Exactly Is This Perfect Spot In The Lateral Glutes

    As with several of the spots, Perfect Spot No. 6 is actually a small area where you are likely to find a significant trigger point, or several of them. This region of special interest is on the side of the hip and behind it. Or, to use the pizza as a guide, it is roughly the front half of the slice, and especially closer to the tip of the slice.

    Start at the big lump of the greater trochanter on the side of the hip the lower tip of the muscles and explore up and back from there: all over the side of the hip, right where the seam of your pants would be.

    Sore Back Try A Massage

    Does Massage Help Lower Back Pain

    Massage can be a helpful add-on to conventional medical care for back pain.

    Images: Thinkstock

    It can reduce discomfort and get you back on your feet faster.

    It can take weeks to months to completely recover from a flare-up of low back pain. In the meantime, massage offers relief in addition to conventional care, such as taking anti-inflammatory pain relievers, staying as active as possible, getting physical therapy, and waiting for the body to heal.

    When added to the mix, massage can reduce pain and speed the return to normal activities. On the downside, you will probably end up paying the cost of the massage therapy, and it’s unclear what type of massage is best for low back pain.

    “Based on research to date, massage therapy generally seems to be helpful, when compared with doing nothing, and it tends to be very safe,” says Peter Wayne, research director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “It’s worth a try.”

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    Many Experts And Skeptics Seem To Like Massage And Few Are Critical

    In the summer of 2009, I attended the Science-Based Medicine conference and The Amazing Meeting 7 in Las Vegas: a huge gathering of skeptics, scientists, and critical thinkers. I was the only alternative health care professional at the conference that I know of. I introduced myself publicly to a couple hundred doctors and scientists as a skeptical massage therapist. They were delighted, and for the next four days, skeptics approached me regularly to say, Hey, that was brave! But massage isnt quackery, is it?

    Its a fair question. Despite the lack of direct evidence, massage has often gotten a stamp of approval from medical experts. For instance, back pain expert Dr. Richard Deyo: although openly skeptical about most other back pain therapies, he acknowledges that promising preliminary results of clinical trials suggest that research on massage should be assigned a high priority.51

    Patrick Wall, the eminent neurologist and pain researcher, writes only a single word about massage therapy in his seminal book about pain: Delightful.52

    Dr. Stephen Barrett is a prominent anti-quackery activist. In an article on his popular website, QuackWatch, Barrett condemns common non-massage practices in massage therapy, but not massage itself: ordinary massage and the legitimate practice of massage therapy should not be categorized as quackery.53 Thats surprising tolerance from such a fierce critic of questionable health care.


    Are Massage Guns Safe For Back Pain Sufferers

    According to many physical therapists, including Physical therapist Gary Calabrese, DPT, massage guns are safe and effective at delivering a quick hit of relief to the body parts that often carry stress . He also finds them effective at warming up the muscles before activity or helping with cool-down.


    Even if you dont suffer from a chronic back pain condition, you have to use a percussion massage gun with caution, gradually and after learning how to use each feature. If you experience severe muscle soreness or very tight muscle knots, you may need to hold the device slightly away from your skin so it doesnt punch you to full pressure.

    High-end massagers have more applications and you have to learn about them and start gradually, or not at all if you have certain injuries.

    We would recommend NOT to use massage guns for neck pain in the cervical area. Alternatively, you can use neck traction to safely treat your injured neck.

    Also, massage guns and prescription blood thinners such as heparin and warfarin should not be used together.

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    Massage Used To Be Considered An Indulgence But Its Now Recognized As A Legitimate Therapy For Some Painful Conditions

    Therapeutic massage may relieve pain by way of several mechanisms, including relaxing painful muscles, tendons, and joints relieving stress and anxiety and possibly helping to close the pain gate by stimulating competing nerve fibers and impeding pain messages to and from the brain.

    Therapeutic massage is an active area of research. In particular, it has been studied for its effect on pain in the back, hands, neck, and knees, among other areas. A study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice showed a reduction in hand pain and an improvement in grip strength among people who had four weekly hand massage sessions and did self-massage at home. They also slept better and had less anxiety and depression than people in the control group who didnt receive hand massage.

    A study published in Annals of Family Medicine in 2014 found that 60-minute therapeutic massage sessions two or three times a week for four weeks relieved chronic neck pain better than no massage or fewer or shorter massage sessions.

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