How To Self Massage For Back Pain
If you dont have the time to see a massage therapist on a regular basis, its possible to DIY a self massage through the use of some equipment.
Using a mat and tennis balls
- Lie face up on a mat and place two tennis balls under your area of pain, one on each side of your spine.
- Bend your knees and place both feet flat on the floor.
- Slowly move yourself up and down with your legs so the tennis balls roll along your lower back and work the muscles.
- Press your body down with your legs to relieve or increase pressure.
Using a mat and a foam roller
- Place a foam roller on a mat and then lie down, with the roller perpendicular to your body and directly below the source of pain.
- Bend your knees and place both feet flat on the floor.
- Roll the foam above and below the source of pain to work the muscles.
- Use your legs to relieve or increase pressure into the roller.
How To Diy Massage
Trust me, I get ityou can try to use your own hands to dig into your neck, but somehow you can never quuuuuite get the area of tension. I first bought DIY massage tools in my days as a competitive runnerI was so diligent about rolling out and digging into tight muscles after workouts to increase blood flow, speed up recovery, and decrease tightness. And while my speedy running days are behind me, I still prioritize this musculoskeletal habit nearly every day. From my neck to my leggies all the way to the bottoms of the feet, I am a firm believer in a regular massage practiceand these tools make it a lot easier.
As always, check with your primary care provider or chiropractor to see what they recommend for you and your needs. These are just a few simple items that have worked GREAT for me and I just thought Id pass em along!
1. If you struggle from holding tension in your neck:
If you have anyyyyy neck tension or tightness, PLEASE get this thing-a-ma-jig. It is magical. I really cant even put into words how much this simple tool helps alleviate neck and upper shoulder tension.
I have one for at home and one in my desk drawer at work. Trust me, homieif you spend 23 minutes focusing on your neck with this, you will instantly feel more relaxed and less tense. Its hands down one of my favorite things mentioned in this post.
2. If you have tight shoulders and upper back tightness:
3. For tension headaches, jaw tightness, and TMJ probz:
9. For an everyday mini massage
Expert Advice For Treating Back Pain At Home
A tense neck that refuses to turn. A lower back that throbs every time you bend over. Super-tight shoulders that seem stuck in a shrug. If any of these common symptoms of back pain sound familiar, youre probably eager for relief. Today, as many people spend significantly more time at home due to the coronavirus outbreak, seeing a chiropractor, masseuse, or physical therapist for hands-on treatment isnt always an option. Thankfully, there are myriad tools you can use at home that may alleviate your discomfort.
We spoke to three doctors about the at-home gear and DIY techniques they recommend most: Robert Hayden, DC, PhD, FICC, a chiropractor and member of the American Chiropractic Association Heidi Prather, DO, vice chair of the department of orthopedic surgery and division chief of physical medicine rehabilitation at Washington University School of Medicine and Lauren Borowski, MD, a primary care sports medicine physician at NYU Langones Sports Medicine Center.
They all had good news to share: Most back pain will go away on its own over time. You will, however, need to do a bit of detective work to find DIY treatments that work best for you. Figure out what makes your pain better and what makes it worse, said Prather.
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Wagan In2514 Heated Massage Lumbar Cushion
For better lumbar support and relaxation, the cushion has a unique design that offers lower back support and improves posture. The cushion has a built-in motor that effectively targets the lower back muscles and massages the area gently. For frequent backaches, simply organize the cushion on your seat, switch on the heat settings and relax while it works on your lower back.
· Operates on DC power and comes with an adapter
· The built-in heating element provides required heat to heal soreness
· Features durable and washable cover
· Unique design that distributes heat easily and evenly
· Slim design that occupies minimal space and offers required lumbar support
· You can switch between heat and vibration modes
· Not a long-lasting product
The cushion offers heat settings so you can switch from gentle to intense heat according to the extremity of your pain. Plus, the massager is covered in a washable cover so you can easily remove the cover and use it after washing. If you work for hours on your computer, you can use this massager while sitting and even while driving.
Studying Massage For Low Back Pain
Researchers recruited adults, mostly women, ages 20 to 65 who had visited the doctor at least once for their low back pain.
People were not included in the study if their back pain could be attributed to a specific cause like fractures, cancer or spinal stenosis, if they’d had surgery for their back problems in the last three years, or if they had an underlying medical condition like fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis that would complicate pain treatment.
Study participants were randomly assigned to receive either Swedish massages for relaxation or a more targeted kind of “structural” massage that focused on specific muscle and connective tissue problems that might affect the low back.
“The treatment will go into the gluteal muscles and up in to the neck, but it’s not a fully body massage and it tends to be focused with the goal of treating the effected tissues,” says Cherkin. “A full-body relaxation massage is more or less full-body and it doesn’t focus on the back. It’s intended to maximize relaxation.”
A third group was told they were participating in a trial of massage therapy, but they were assigned to usual care.
Massage therapists all had at least five years of experience, and some had additional, specialized training to provide the focused, structural massage technique.
Study participants received their massages for free. People in the usual care group were paid $50 for their participation.
All study participants were followed for one year.
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Help Relieve Stress And Tension Due To Long Hours At The Computer
If you work in an office, do manual labor, or simply have a lot of stress in your life, chances are your upper trapezius muscles are constantly tight. These are the muscles that go across the tops of your shoulders.
Tight trapezius muscles have a nasty habit of limiting your neck, arm, and upper back movement. When you can soften and release this area, you’ll likely find you feel better, you’ve improved your upper body posture, and have increased your energy.
The problem is, most of us don’t have concierge massage therapists who accompany us through all we do, for those times when we get tight. So if there’s no one around with whom you feel comfortable enough to ask for a massage, you’ll either need to take care of it yourself or continue to suffer under the weight of too-tight trap muscles
So if you’re game to be your own upper traps massage therapist, here’s a simple technique that takes less than 5 minutes to completeand is very easy to learn.
Whats New In This Article
2017 Science update Cited evidence of poor correlation between hip pain and radiographic signs of arthritis .
2016 Added footnote explaining contralateral gluteus medius and minimus action. Added footnote about the poor safety record of hip replacement surgery. Miscellaneous minor edits.
2016 Miscellaneous editing and improvements. Fixed a few minor errors, moved some details into footnotes.
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Best Overall On Amazon: Resteck Back And Neck Massager
Your back wont be the only body part grateful for this sleek massager: Its wrap-around construction is versatile enough to use on your neck, shoulders, arms, or abdomen and features eight powerful deep-kneading massage nodes that move bidirectionally to relieve aches, knots, and muscle tension. Simply loop your hands through the shoulder straps to get a completely hands-free treatment for up to 15 minutes . Add in the overheat protection and sleek carrying case, and its apparent why this portable massager earned nearly 29,000 perfect five-star ratings.
Available at , $47
Best Cheap: Homedics Percussion Massager With Heat
This percussion massager packs a punch with two rapidly moving heads that pump up and down to deliver up to 3,100 pulses per minute. It features an ergonomic handle with a unique handgrip design that makes it even easier to target hard-to-reach places, like your lower back, and it even has optional heat therapy. Customize your experience to your bodys preference by selecting either a gentle or firm head attachment and selecting your desired intensity level. Best of all, its just $40, though multiple reviewers say it easily compares to high-end alternatives.
Available at $40
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Benefits Of Massage For Lower Back Pain
Guidelines set by the American College of Physicians recommend several non-invasive treatments that can be used to recover from lower back pain, including over the counter pain relievers, exercise, heat wraps, acupuncture and massage therapy.
Massage therapy works by providing specific benefits for pain management and recovery, including:
- The release of the endorphins, serotonin and dopamine
- Improving circulation by stimulating blood vessels in the direct area
- Relaxing muscles and relieving tension
- Reducing feelings of stress and anxiety
A review of studies found that massage therapy can improve patient outcomes and should be offered as a means of pain management. A 2017 study published in the journal Pain Medicine details how people experiencing chronic lower back pain benefit from massage therapy. Heres a quick breakdown:
- Researchers looked at 104 subjects with persistent back pain who were referred by their doctors to licensed massage therapists.
- This was a diverse group of patients, including some who were obese, some who had other health conditions exacerbating their back pain, and others taking opioid pain medications.
- Over 50% reported clinically meaningful improvement in their back pain.
- Three months later, 75% of the participants who reported initial improvement said they still felt better with no further massage sessions.
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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How Massage Helps Back Pain
Massage is beneficial for both acute and chronic back pain. It works by:
- Boosting Blood Flow to the Affected Tissues
Blood brings fresh oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and other components of the back, which nourishes these tissues and encourages healing. Improved circulation also ensures the efficient removal of waste products from damaged tissue.
- Reducing Muscular Tension
Tense and tight muscles can cause significant pain and discomfort. Luckily, massage therapy targets the soft tissues of the back in order to relax areas of tension and tightness.
Constant contraction and muscle tension can lead to the development of myofascial pain syndrome. In this chronic pain condition, sensitive points in the muscles called trigger points or muscle knots lead to pain in the back and surrounding areas.
- Increasing the Levels of Endorphins in the Body
Endorphins are chemicals that the body releases in response to pain or stress. They bring about pain relief and increase levels of relaxation and happiness.
Massage causes the body to release endorphins along with other feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters increase feelings of joy, motivation, and positive emotions.
Other ways to boost your levels of endorphins include regular exercise, yoga and meditation, and helping others.
Knee To The Opposite Shoulder
This exercise stretches your glutes and your piriformis muscle.
- Lie straight on your back, legs outstretched, toes looking up.
- Lift your right leg, bend it, and catch the knee with your hands.
- Slowly pull it towards your left shoulder, keep the back fixed flat on the floor. Pull back a bit if you start feeling discomfort or pain.
- Hold for up to 30 seconds.
- Repeat with your left leg.
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When To Seek Professional Help
Many people wonder whether they should get a massage or see a chiropractor for lower back pain. Physical therapy is another option, as these professionals typically use massage along with a program of exercises and stretches for back pain. Realistically, different treatments work for different people, and some people need a combination to see results.
Of course, not all treatments are suitable for everyone. For example, those with herniated or bulging discs may not be good candidates for massage therapy. Talk to a professional about the suitability of massage for your condition. If you are unsure of the treatments available to you, consult your doctor.
Always seek medical assistance if your back pain is severe or persistent, or if massage or any other treatment makes it worse.
Best For Neck And Back Pain: Trumedic Magichands Trushiatsu Neck And Back Massager
This Oprah-recommendedmagic massager uses four powerful nodes to mimic human hands, so you can quickly soothe sore and aching muscles without visiting the spa. The durable unit lets you choose between three different pain-relieving speeds and features adjustable arm straps so you can personalize the position of the massager to your body. Plus, one five-star reviewer says its a top pick for anyone seeking relief from chronic pain, while other shoppers said it works great on neck, back, and shoulder pain.
Available at , $150
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Avoid Overusing Pain Medication
One thing you can avoid when you get someone to use massage techniques lower back pain options is painkillers. Youll no longer have to take a bunch of medication all the time if youre not wanting to because that can be bad for you. A lot of people think that they can just take meds the rest of their lives and be okay but that is not always the case. You can get addicted to medications and have other problems and thats why its so important to get to the root problem instead of covering the pain.
Secure Two Tennis Balls For A Supine Lower Back Massage
For this DIY massage, you will need a couple of tennis balls and some duct tape:
- Place 2 tennis balls next to each other and use as much duct tape as needed to secure the balls in this shape. When completed, the tennis balls and duct tape contraption will look like a peanut.
- Place the tennis balls on the ground and then lie on them in the supine position , keeping the knees bent. The tennis balls should be parallel to your waist and centered just above your lower back. Each tennis ball should be situated in a way that it contacts the muscle tissue on each side of your spinal column .
- Adjust yourself until you feel balanced and comfortable, and then raise both arms with your fingers pointed toward the ceiling. Keep your arms as straight as possible.
- Beginning with either your right or left arm, slowly lower your arm back toward your head. While keeping your arm straight, feel free to bend your neck backward when lowering your arm.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly bring it back to its original starting position.
You will feel the secured balls gently pressing and massaging your sore tissues as you move your arms back and forth. Repeat the same action with the other arm. Aim to repeat this massage 4 times for each arm.
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How Do You Know Its Working Getting A Trigger Point To Release
The goal of self-massage for trigger points is to achieve a release. What is trigger point release and what does it feel like? It mostly refers to an easing of sensitivity of the trigger point, and/or a softening of the tissue texture.
But release is a painfully vague term with no specific scientific definition. Its a label for the unknown, for whatever is going on when the trigger point seems to go away. Maybe it refers to the literal relaxation of the tightly clenched muscle fibres. Or maybe its just a sensory adaptation, which might be a kind of healing , or trivial and temporary .
A release may not be obvious. In fact, things could even feel worse before they feel better: tissue might remain polluted with waste metabolites even after a successful release. Release might even require some damage to the tissue of the muscle knots that is one theory. If so, the area would probably still be quite sensitive even if youve succeeded.
In my experience both treating and being treated its a weird mixture of these possibilities: initially theres a satisfying but profound sense of scratching an itch, but the tissue is actually more sensitive afterwards, not less.
But dont worry about the details: just stimulate the trigger point, and trust that you probably achieved a release, or a partial release, and then wait for the trigger point to calm down. If you were successful, you will notice a reduction in symptoms within several hours, often the next morning.