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 .
When To Not Use Heat Or Cold For Your Lower Back
There are some conditions and situations that should not be treated with heat or cold therapy. For example:
- These therapies must not be used on open wounds, bleeds, or when there is any fluid oozing out of the painful region.
- If you have certain chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, poor circulation, spinal cord injuries, diabetes mellitus, and/or rheumatoid arthritis, it is advised to avoid heat therapy. Heat in these conditions may cause excessive burns, skin ulceration, and/or increased inflammation.1
It is also advisable to avoid laying directly on the heat source due to the risk of burns, skin damage, or permanent changes in skin color. A protective barrier such as a cloth or towel may be used between your skin and the source of heat.
In general, many people feel heat therapy works better to relieve their lower back pain compared to cold. Also, taking oral pain-relieving drugs while using these therapies may have an added effect on the overall pain relief.2
When To See A Pro
You may find that your massage efforts at home arent doing enough to ease your lower back pain.
Consider seeking a professional masseuse to provide massage or another professional, like a chiropractor or physical therapist, to adjust your spine. These efforts by professionals may help relieve your back pain.
You may want to see a doctor if your lower back pain is very severe or long-lasting.
A doctor can diagnose and help you manage back pain that interferes with your daily life. They may recommend a variety of treatments to help with severe or lingering back pain. Some treatment recommendations may include:
- bed rest
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Baths For Relief From Muscle Aching
Hot baths are modestly effective as a treatment for some kinds of muscle soreness. This is surprisingly hard to prove, or even understand its not exactly a hot target for research funding. But its also pretty obvious to us all that it works, at least a little, sometimes. Here are some possible reasons why
Covering yourself in hot water systemic heating can do something for muscles that no hot pack can ever do. As good as a nice hot pack can feel, the effect is a minor, local, neurological effect warm skin relaxes the muscles underneath it. Thats a nice effect, but its limited. A hot bath also has this effect, but it goes much deeper: it can actually increase the temperature of the muscle itself via deep heating.
Hot packs simply cant increase the heat inside your muscles. The human body is incredibly good at temperature control, at getting rid of heat. When you try to heat a muscle with a hot pack, you end up heating just the superficial blood, which quickly gets pumped away and immediately cooled.10 So what to do? How to get the benefits of heating? The hot bath may work.
In a hot enough bath, excess heat has nowhere to go. The body cannot get rid of it all . Theres a net gain of heat, and so the entire system gets warmer a mild fever!11 Its not a major effect, but its certainly much more than you can manage with a hot pack.
Heat Reduces Reliance On Medications
Heat therapy is more effective and more cost-friendly than over-the-counter pain medications.12 The low risk of side-effects is one of the key advantages of heat therapy. Low back pain tends to arise frequently, so treatment with pain medications for every episode of pain may lead to drug dependence. Heat therapy offers a valuable alternative to drug therapy for chronic low back pain.
Heat application is the treatment of choice for individuals who desire a natural form of pain relief that simultaneously acts on multiple levels healing the body, soothing the muscles, facilitating exercise, and relieving stress.
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How To Massage For Sciatica Pain Relief
Sciatica produces a distinct pain in the lower back, buttock muscles, and lower legs. The pain and discomfort come from the sciatic nerve, which has five different nerve roots. The nervous system is complex, so finding the cause and source of sciatica isnt always straight forward. Usually, the nerve roots have been irritated, compressed, or injured.
What Is The Best Type Of Massage For Lower Back Pain
With so many kinds of massage therapy, choosing the best one for lower back pain can be confusing. However, the type you choose may not be all that important research suggests that both relaxing massage techniques and deep tissue therapy may be equally effective for symptom relief. Instead, it may be better to find a good massage therapist that will tailor a treatment to your preferences.
Popular types of massage include:
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The Research On Massage For Back Pain: Can It Help
There is evidence supporting the use of massage therapy for pain relief, particularly in the short-term. In a review study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, for instance, scientists analyzed 25 previously published studies on the use of massage for low back pain and found that massage was better at reducing sub-acute and chronic back pain and improving function in the short-term, compared to an inactive treatment.
Compared to other treatments thought to be beneficial, massage was found to be better for pain in the both the short- and long-term, but did not improve function. The researchers also noted that the most common adverse event was increased pain in 1.5% to 25% of participants.
Another review, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2017, examined previously published trials on massage for acute or chronic low back pain. In eight out of nine trials, massage was more effective than other interventions such as exercise, relaxation therapy, acupuncture, physiotherapy, and manipulation.
What Is Ice Useful For
Cold treatment can help in cases of:
- tendinitis, or irritation in the tendons following activity
A cold mask or wrap around the forehead may help reduce the pain of a migraine.
For osteoarthritis, patients are advised to use an ice massage or apply a cold pad 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off.
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What To Ask Your Doctor First
Talk with your doctor before you start cupping or any other type of alternative or complementary medicine. And talk extensively with your cupping therapist, too, before you try it. Ask:
- What conditions do they use cupping for?
- What is your training?
- What is your experience in using it?
- Am I already getting the standard treatments for my condition?
- Are there reasons I should not get cupping?
What Does Perfect Spot No 6 Feel Like Sciatica Among Other Things
Even without nasty symptoms, pressure on these muscles may still feel important. They usually harbour trigger points that arent obvious until they are poked , but which cause symptoms like stiffness, heavy-ness, muscle fatigue, vague discomfort and diffuse aching throughout the hip and buttocks and descending into the leg. Their importance is often unsuspected because the key gluteus medius and minimus trigger points are not found where the symptoms are but they produce symptoms that spread backwards to the sacrum and down the leg.4
Important! This article is best for people with a minor low back or leg pain problem. If you are having more serious or long-term pain, please start with my low back pain tutorial.
Given their stealthy nature, massaging these muscles can feel like a surprising and satisfying discovery of the true source of stiffness you did know that you had thats what makes it a perfect spot.
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Heat Therapy Methods To Try At Home
When it comes to heat therapy, there are many methods to try. First, you can give your muscles a long soak in an extra warm bath. This method doesnt require any gear and can be done at home for no cost, so its a great option to start with. Be sure to keep the water warm and spend at least 20-30 minutes allowing your muscles to soak.
Another free tool you can try is applying a hot water bottle or hot pad directly to the area of back pain. If you want to avoid the hassle of reheating and holding the object in place, heated pads, and heat wraps are a convenient alternative. Moji has a wrap designed specifically for the entire back that creates deep, penetrating relief to overworked muscles. It reduces pain, spasms, and stiffness, and can even be used to warm up before engaging in a workout or sports activity. The benefits continue for hours after removing the wrap.
A heated foam roller provides the added benefit of both massage and heat therapy and can be done for a fraction of the cost of a professional massage. Use the roller on your back and other large muscles, including the hamstrings, glutes, and quads for maximum relief.
Massage Therapy For Lower Back Pain
“Oh, my back still hurts,” Jim groaned as he sat on the bed and bent over to pick up his shoe.
“Why don’t you try a massage?” His wife asked. “My friend Carol swears massage is the only thing that can help her back pain.”
Jim sighed as he tied his shoe. “I suppose I have tried everything else. The chiropractor says my back is fine, just the muscles are tight. My doctor gave me muscle relaxants, which I don’t like to take, and our insurance only covered four physical therapy visits. Massage can’t hurt my back any more than it already does, I guess.”
Jim is typical of most Americans trying massage for the first time. Many feel that it can’t hurt to try. But what does massage do? What kind of massage should you try? How do you find a massage therapist?
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What Is Heat Useful For
Heat is useful for relieving:
- tendonitis, or chronic irritation and stiffness in the tendons
- warming up stiff muscles or tissue before activity
- relieving pain or spasms relating to neck or back injury, including the lower back
In 2006, a team of researchers found that patients with lower back pain who exercised and use continuous low-level heat wrap therapy experienced less pain than those who did not use CLHT.
Previous studies had shown that, for some people, CLHT relieved pain more effectively than oral analgesics, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
However, the effectiveness of heat treatment may depend on the depth of the tissue affected by the pain or injury.
Some people use heat treatment, often in the form of a hot bath, to stave off DOMS.
There is some evidence that this might help, but heat that is applied for only 5 to 20 minutes may be less effective, as does not have the chance impact the deeper levels of tissue.
Some researchers have that moist chemical heat packs, which can be used for 2 hours, may be the best way to prevent DOMS through heat treatment.
Relieve Back Pain With A Tennis Ball
Back pain can be caused due to numerous reasons that generally include muscle overuse and poor posture. To alleviate the pain, you can try the tennis ball massage. To relax your back and relieve pain you only need a couple of tennis balls!
1. Lie on your back. Knees should be bent and feet on the ground.
2. Lift your hips and place 2 tennis balls under your back.
3. Lie still for 60 seconds.
You can play with moving the balls around to target different muscle areas and find different points of tension.
For example, you can move down and up. Be careful not to roll over or press your spine into the tennis ball.
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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.”
Treating Back Spasms With Chiropractic Care
During your initial visit, your chiropractor will determine the cause of your muscle spasm. If it is caused by strain or injury, they might perform spinal adjustments or soft tissue therapy to ease the pain and discomfort.
However, if the chiropractor finds an issue with a spinal disc, then you may require different treatment or further imaging. The requisite rehabilitation may involve different exercises and stretches. In some instances, you may also be referred back to your medical doctor for additional care.
If youre worried about the treatment hurting, dont worry chiropractic care is gentle and is always a discussion between you and the treating practitioner.
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How A Hot Tub Can Help Ease Lower Back Pain
Hot tubs may help to ease lower back pain for some people by encouraging their tense muscles to relax. They do so with a combination of heat, buoyancy, and massage. To see if a hot tub might be the right choice for you, consult with a medical professional.
A short soak in the morning or before bed every day can go a long way towards improving a persons quality of life with the following advantages:
Heat. A hot tubs warm waters will raise a persons body temperature. This enhances circulation, improving blood flow and promoting relaxation. As muscles relax, tension and the pain that comes with it can lessen.
Buoyancy. While immersed neck deep in a hot tubs soothing waters, a persons experienced body weight is reduced by 90%. This takes the pressure off of bones, joints, and muscles, including those directly and indirectly associated with the lower back.
Massage. High-quality premium and luxury hot tubs use powerful jets to massage major muscle groups. This hydromassage kneads knots and tension out of muscles, helping them relax in the warm water and providing relief from over-tightness.
While all hot tubs offer the advantages of heat and buoyancy, hot tubs vary widely in their ability to deliver agreatmassage. Hot tubbers seeking to reduce lower back pain should look for hot tub models which specifically target thisproblem area.
Heres a short video of the Moto-Massage DX jet in action:
Massage Treatment For Back Pain
Massage treatment for back pain is one of the most commonly recommended therapies for people with low back pain. Muscle strain or spasm is a common cause of back pain. The warm oils used in massage help to relieve pain and stiffness, and also reduce the muscle spasms. Massage can thus provide relief and also improve flexibility. However, it is important that the right muscles are targeted while giving the massage and hence it is better to look for a professional therapist or a spa for back massage.
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Helps Relieve Muscle Tension And Pain
Heat has long been used to ease muscle tension and pain. It helps increase blood flow to the affected area. It may also reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility and range of motion. Cold therapy helps relieve inflammation. Depending on your symptoms, alternating hot and cold stones during your massage may be helpful.
When To Call Your Doctor
With these treatments, your pain should go away on its own. Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms, because they could be signs of a bigger problem:
- The pain lasts for more than 3 days.
- It moves from your back to other parts of your body.
- You also have fever or loss of bladder or bowel control.
American Chiropractic Association: âBack Pain Facts and Statistics.â
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: âWhat Is Back Pain?â
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: âLow Back Pain.â
Harvard Medical School: âBed Rest for Back Pain? A Little Bit Will Do You.â
National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke: âLow Back Pain Fact Sheet.â
Johns Hopkins Medicine: âCryotherapy for Pain Management.â
University of Michigan Health System: âLow Back Pain.â
Cochrane Library: âMotor Control Exercise for Chronic Non-specific Low Back Pain.â
Annals of Internal Medicine: âA comparison of the effects of 2 types of massage and usual care on chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial.â
U.S. National Library of Medicine: âBack Pain.â
American Association of Neurological Surgeons: âLow Back Strain and Sprain,â âSpinal Infections,â âSpinal Tumors.â
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