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The four best massages for back pain

Chinese massage

About this post

Let's chat all things back pain. Because a whopping 80% of us will feel it at some point in our lives – here's the best massages to tackle it.

Posted by

Emily from Urban


  • Health conditions
  • Massage
  • Sports massage

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About 80% of the UK population experience back pain at some point in their life, but there’s lots you can do to help ease the symptoms. 

Massage can really help when your back's playing up. A professional therapist will work to understand your symptoms before offering a tailored treatment – they can even suggest exercises to do between sessions. They’ll be able to offer personalised advice that you can use in between treatments, so you’re not relying on the massages alone.

Let’s take a look at the best massages for back pain, so you can decide how to tackle your pain. We’ll compare Swedish massage, sports massage and deep tissue massage in detail.

What is back pain?

Back pain is the discomfort you feel in your back, usually caused by something physical like lifting, twisting, not moving enough or falling.

Common causes of back pain

There are various causes of back pain including lifting, twisting, bad posture, and impact damage.

Lifting – the most common cause of back pain

Lifting is the main cause of back pain. It's impossible to avoid lifting things every now and then, and when we need to lift heavier items, we often do so with poor form.

Yes, all of those health and safety videos at work are there to help you lift items comfortably and safely. But what about at home? It’s easy to forget just how physical moving house or rearranging furniture can be.

Bending your knees when you lift is crucial. When you don’t, it forces your back into a rounded position which causes extra strain, leading to back pain. 


Another common cause of back pain is twisting. This can happen for a few reasons, including:

  • Sleeping in an awkward position

  • Playing various sports or exercising generally 

  • Falling over

Twisting awkwardly can be bad news for your back, so it’s important to avoid this wherever you can.

Not moving enough

Thanks to the digital world we’re in, it’s easy to stay sitting for way too long. This combined with extended phone and computer use can put strain in areas of our spine that we shouldn’t, and this can cause significant back pain.

Massage can help ease the pain felt by our sedentary lifestyles, so make sure you explore this option if you can relate.

Impact damage

The last main cause of back pain is falling over or injuring yourself in an accident. When our bodies hit hard surfaces like the ground, it usually causes some form of bruising which can leave our backs in pain.

If you’ve recently had a fall and your back feels sore, this is probably why.

What are the best massages for back pain?

The good news is that massage is a great tool to use to combat back pain.

The following four massages can be beneficial if you’re currently experiencing back pain:

  1. Swedish massage

  2. Deep tissue massage

  3. Sports massage

  4. Myofascial release massage

1. Swedish massage

The first massage we recommend for back pain is a Swedish massage. Our Urban classic is a Swedish-inspired option that combines a mixture of light and firm strokes. It’s a great choice if this is your first time having a massage, or your first massage since dealing with back pain.

You can ask your pro to change the pressure to suit your preferences during the treatment, too. Simply tell your massage therapist what you’d like, and they’ll be happy to help. Getting the right amount of pressure is important as this is what helps reduce the amount of inflammation felt in the affected area.

Book a mobile Swedish massage

2. Deep tissue massage

If you’re a bit more experienced when it comes to having massages for back pain, we recommend indulging in a deep tissue massage from Urban. This type of massage does exactly what its name suggests, it focuses on working deeper into the tissue to target tension. During this treatment, therapists work into layers of muscle to give your back pain results.

This might not be the best option for someone having their first massage while experiencing back pain.

Book a mobile deep tissue massage

3. Sports massage

Is your back pain from a sport-related injury? Booking a sports massage session will give you access to a specialist who can understand how what’s causing the pain and how to ease it.

Your therapist will also be able to help align your skeletal system and can get you back on track to a healthy training regime.

Book a mobile sports massage

4. Myofascial release massage

When it comes to the best massages for back pain, myofascial release is a great technique used by pros. It helps to relax tight muscles, which improves blood and lymphatic circulation and better stimulates the stretch reflex in muscles.

At Urban, we offer a range of massages that include myofascial release and can get you on the road to a better back quickly:

Frequently asked questions

Is it good to get a massage if your back hurts?

Yes, getting a massage can significantly reduce the pain felt in your back and can speed up the healing process. You’ll also get tailored advice from an experienced massage therapist that can help protect your back from long-term pain.

What massage is good for tight back muscles?

A great massage for tight back muscles is anything that uses myofascial release. This could be deep tissue massage, an injury massage or physiotherapy. These massages work well for tight back muscles because a therapist will identify relevant trigger points, and by relieving the pressure within those points, your muscles will become looser and more comfortable.

How can I tell if my back pain is muscular or skeletal?

When working out whether your back pain is muscular or skeletal, you need to think about the following:

  • How long have you felt your back pain? Bone pain tends to last longer than muscle pain.

  • How debilitating is the pain? Bone pain is typically more debilitating than muscle pain.

  • Can you easily point out where the pain is coming from? Muscle pain is usually more “generalised”, meaning that it’s harder to pinpoint.

Download the Urban app

For an even better booking experience, download the Urban app and book massage, physio, facials from your phone, to your home.

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