What are the main causes of back pain?
The human back is made up of 77 different muscles, so it’s no wonder that most massages tend to concentrate on this area. If you have knots in your shoulders, suffer from chronic stiffness in your lower back, or have pulled a muscle from something as simple as bending over, there are a lot of different ways that back pain can impact your life. Because these muscles are so closely connected, when one thing goes, everything else seems to follow, so it’s important not to leave it too long before you seek help.
As a complementary therapy, massage may be able to provide relief from the following symptoms:
- Muscle spasms
- Knots and tension
- Sports injuries
- Postural problems
How can massage help?
Massage works by stretching and lengthening the muscle fibers, as well as directing a rush of blood to particularly tight or inflamed areas. This brings both nutrients and oxygen to the area, as well as helping to release any buildup of lactic acid. The effects of massage therapy tend to be cumulative, but you may also feel relief from your very first appointment.
Massage can be used in conjunction with medical pain relief, osteopathy and at-home stretching to manage back pain. It is also an effective preventative measure for people who work hunched over at a computer, who are most at risk of developing back pain due to poor posture.
What are the best types of massage for back pain?
If you are new to massage, you could consider starting with a Swedish Massage. This treatment is relatively gentle and should be relaxing, but your therapist will be able to increase the pressure as needed in areas of particular tension.
If you’re looking for something a bit more intense, think about a Deep Tissue Massage, which works intensely into layers of muscle.
If your back pain has been caused by an exercise related injury, consider a Sports Massage. This specialist massage takes into account your musculoskeletal system and lifestyle to promote healthy alignment, and can be incorporated as a part of a healthy training regime.
What techniques are used in a back massage?
Depending on the type of massage, your therapist will probably use a combination of the following:
- Effleurage: long, sweeping strokes that break up knots in larger muscles and warm the skin.
- Petrissage: a deeper kneading muscle that gets into tight spots.
- Tapotement: a beating motion performed with cupped hands, that brings blood and energy to the area.
- Friction: the palms are rubbed together to create a soothing heat.
- Vibration: dragging the fingers in a perpendicular motion to the muscle, to separate the fibers.
Treating back ache during pregnancy
Back ache is a major symptom of many pregnancies, which can make it hard for you to get comfortable. Once you’re in your second trimester consider getting a soothing and supportive Pregnancy Massage.
If you are pregnant, or suffering from any kind of injury, make sure to talk to your doctor before starting any course of massage therapy.