Can massage help with back pain?
A proper massage is often all you need to relieve back pain, which at times can be extremely painful and even debilitating. While not everyone can handle a deep tissue massage, those who can will swear by any massage therapist that can provide this for them when they have a back pain 'flare-up'. For others, a mild or moderate massage will still provide some relief from back pain, and may even be all that's necessary. If you suffer from back pain and have been cleared by your doctor of any structural abnormality (such as a herniated disk), you may want to try massage therapy to provide you with some relief.
In Ontario, a registered massage therapist is trained primarily in Swedish Massage, and many therapists (e.g. the massage therapists at Yellow Gazebo Natural Health Care) obtain supplemental training in other therapies. This supplemental training may include Thai massage, reflexology, or a large variety of other techniques. Despite the various techniques that your therapist may use, however, the pain relief you will feel comes from the same place: decreased pressure on your nerves.
How does massage relieve back pain?
Pressure on your nerves that causes you pain is caused by improper lymph drainage and inflammation in your blood vessels. Lymph is a clear fluid that circulates in your body's tissues, and when your body's tissues are inflamed (from some type of injury, whether direct or indirect), it is much more difficult to drain the lymph. Massage enables your body to remove the excess lymph and decrease inflammation, thereby increasing circulation to your tissues, and decreasing the amount of pain you are feeling.
If you experience chronic back pain or even the occasional ache, try massage therapy. Regular, weekly treatments can help lower the amount of pain you feel, or even eliminate it entirely.
By Richard Lobbenberg, BSc BHSc DAc
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