Sore Back Try A Massage
Massage can be a helpful add-on to conventional medical care for back pain.
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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Quadratus Lumborum Muscle Massage
The quadratus lumborum muscle extends throughout your lower back and consists of several layers. This muscle is an extensor of the spine, allowing you to bend backward. The muscle also helps you bend your torso sideways.1
The quadratus lumborum muscle can become fatigued, stiff, strained, and/or painful when you perform certain daily activities, such as:
- Lifting that requires leaning over something, for example, getting groceries out of the trunk of your car
- Leaning over a sink while doing dishes
- Sitting slumped in a chair
- Running on uneven pavement
A sharp, stabbing, urgent pain in your low back may indicate a hypertonic quadratus lumborum. Sometimes, you may feel a dull, constant ache with some degree of stiffness.
The quadratus lumborum muscle may also develop painful trigger point nodules, cause entrapment of nerves within its fibers, or be subject to direct trauma, causing lower back pain.1
The muscle must be stretched and massaged simultaneously by your therapist in order to reduce lower back pain.
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Getting The Right Massage For Low Back Pain
Massage therapy can provide substantial healing and pain relief for many lower back problems. Specifically, for pain caused by a back strain, when the correct muscle is targeted, the pain can be controlled at its sourcefor quicker and lasting relief.
A skilled massage therapist can provide substantial back pain healing. ReadMassage Therapy for Lower Back Pain
Two major musclesthe quadratus lumborum1 and the gluteus medius 2 play an important role in stabilizing and supporting your lower back and hips. When there is a change in the biomechanics of these muscles due to strain or fatigue, several problems, such as lower back pain, stiffness, and/or decreased mobility can occur.
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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Finding The Right Massage
Finding the right massage therapy for you presents some challenges. One is that practitioners vary considerably in their level of training and experience. There’s also great variation in the kinds of massage available.
Swedish massage is the most common type of massage offered. “Most people who go to massage school will graduate with a level of proficiency in Swedish, which is primarily relaxation massage,” says Arthur Madore, a licensed massage therapist at the Osher Center.
Swedish massage involves long, gliding strokes and kneading of the major muscle groups, as well as friction, gentle rhythmic slapping, and vibration. Among the many other techniques in the marketplace are deep-tissue, pressure-point, Thai, and neuromuscular massage.
When To See Your Healthcare Provider
Consult your primary care provider about your back pain, if you haven’t already. You should also seek medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Persistent back pain
- Back pain that awakens you in the night
- Changes in bowel or bladder function
- Numbness, weakness, or pain around the genitals, arms, or legs
- Fever, chills, sweats
- Any other unusual or new symptoms
Before starting any new therapy, including massage therapy, talk with your healthcare provider to be sure that it’s appropriate for you.
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Back Pain Trigger Point Videos
These two short videos are designed to give you an introduction to the complete seven-step myofascial trigger point therapy protocol.
In the first video, Annmarie Biancalana will show us how to do self-applied trigger point pressure release to the muscles: gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, obviously going through the gluteus maximus.
The trigger points in the gluteus medius can refer pain up into the low back, down along the sacrum into the area near the greater trochanter and lightly into the posterior lateral same side hip.
In the second video we see Annmarie showing us how to do a seated leg-crossed overstretch for the muscles in the hip, including the gluteus medius and minimus, the piriformis and the deep lateral rotators.
Setting Up For A Back Massage
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Learn How To Give A 5 Min Relaxing Lower Back Massage
Weve had lots of people ask for more massage instructionalvideos after seeing our upper back and shoulder how-to instructional video. Sowe have put together another learn-to-massage video to show you some moretechniques that you can use on your family and friends for their lower back.
Theres always time for a bit of time out and relaxation so take 5 minutes out of your hectic schedule and have some fun with yourfamily learning how to give a relaxing back massage.
Watch and learn from Anna, our Remedial Massage Therapist asshe teaches you some basic techniques that you can try out on your luckypartner.
Then just give it a go!
PS. If you would prefer to receive a remedial or relaxation massage from an expert give us a call at Miami Physio on 95344111 or Lakelands Physio on 95429999 or book online.
If you want to know the details of how massage helps read on:
Massage therapy works a number of ways to decrease pain. Firstly,by activating the pain-gating system. Nerves are like a one-way street, they canonly pass one message at a time. This means that during a massage, the largenerve fibres in the skin are activated, switching off the transmission of painmessages.
Massage doesnt just feel good, it helps to decrease your pain,improves your relaxation and decreases your stress response leaving youfeeling happy and like youre walking on a cloud.
Doing A Massage On Yourself
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Benefits Of Using A Massage Ball
Deep tissue massage is an all-time favorite method and benefit of using massage balls. Their small size allows you to use them from head to toe to massage your neck, back, shoulders, hips, glutes, and feet. In addition, trigger point therapy and acupressure techniques can be used to help relax tense muscles, relieve tightness, create more space in the body, work out any knots, and even increase your blood circulation. All of these important health benefits can in turn help to prevent injury and pain. These benefits can also lead to increased flexibility, decreased muscle fatigue, and enhanced physical performance overall.
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.
Read more about Non-Surgical Treatments for Lower Back Pain
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.”
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Types Of Massage For Back Or Neck Pain
There are several types of massage often used for back or neck pain. Swedish massage is the most common type of massage in the United States. Also known simply as massage therapy, Swedish massage involves the use of long, smooth strokes using oil or lotion. People who have never had a massage often start with Swedish massage.
Deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. This type of massage is used for chronically tight or painful muscles, postural problems, and repetitive strain.
There may be some level of physical discomfort during a deep tissue massage, as the massage therapist works on the deeper muscle layers. People may feel sore after the massage.
Another option is shiatsu, a form of Japanese bodywork. Clothing is usually worn during the shiatsu treatment, so it is a good treatment if someone prefers to remain fully clothed.
The therapist applies localized finger pressure to points on the body. Since the pressure is localized, the pressure of shiatsu feels deep.
Although it’s no substitute for a massage by a trained therapist, in some cases a massage cushion may be worth considering. They fit on many desk chairs or can be placed on a sofa. Stores often have floor models to try.
If you have insurance coverage for massage therapy, find out what type of massage is covered.
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How To Give A Back Massage
With just a few tools and some basic massage techniques, you can give a back message to a friend or family member or even show them how to give you one. Heres a video about giving a lower back massage:
Keep in mind that you should never apply pressure directly to the spine. Only use gentle pressure to avoid injury and discomfort.
Then, you can start to massage the back using several different methods. Massage each side of the back separately.
Once youve gone through these motions, you can do a few more moves to ease any remaining back pain.
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Lower Back Pain Relief
There is an exceedingly high chance that you or someone you know is suffering or has suffered from lower back pain, especially here in New York City. How high is that chance? A full 80%. But did you know that there are some simple exercises that can help you prevent and get rid of low back pain? Exercises that don’t require a gym, a lot of space, very little time, are appropriate for any fitness level and are low-risk.
Too many of us just assume that lower back pain is the result of weak back muscles or an untreatable herniated disc and that it’s something that we just have to get used to. Fortunately there are ways of alleviating and ridding yourself oflow back pain once and for all, but not in the way you may think. In addition to manual therapies such as Active Release and Acupuncture, you can begin to take control of your low back health once and for all using these 5 exercises as a jumping off point.
It is important to note that if you have long-term and/or severe low back pain, you should consider consulting an injury recovery specialist or sports medicine doctor in order to get an accurate diagnosis and guidance on the best treatments, back exercises and stretches for your specific circumstance. As basic and simple as the exercise below are, they still may not be appropriate for certain injuries and during certain phrases of the injury recovery process.
Activate over-stretched and under-active muscles.
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
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