Managing Lower Back Pain Through Massage

No injury is ever fun, but lower back pain can be particularly challenging because it impacts how you feel in day-to-day activities. Sitting at a desk for work, working out, and even sleeping can become needlessly difficult. Luckily, managing lower back pain through massage therapy is easier than you might think. According to a number of studies conducted, “Massage therapy may be effective for treatment of chronic back pain, with benefits lasting at least 6 months.”

Want to learn the most common causes for lower back pain? Read more here.

How Massage can Prevent and Treat Lower Back Pain

Treatment

Common methods for treating lower back pain include pain relief medication, topical anti-inflammatory creams, rest, heat, and ice. All these methods in combination can be very effective depending on the recommendation of your doctor. Often overlooked, however, is the benefit that massage can have on the problem.

A study that compared massage therapy and usual medical care for chronic low back pain found that, “Participants who received massage had less pain and were better able to perform daily activities after 10 weeks than those who received usual care.” further, “Most notably, 36% to 39% of participants receiving massage and only 4% receiving usual care claimed that their back pain was much better or gone at 10 weeks.”

Lower back pain can be caused by many factors but the sensation of pain is often aggravated by overly tense or immobile muscle tissue. One particularly common cause of lower back pain is delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS). This can be caused by irregular, or more intense, workouts and occur several days after the activity. Massage has specifically been shown to treat DOMS, alleviating pain by 30% and reducing swelling of muscle tissue.

Massage is an effective tool for pain alleviation and treatment as it helps tissue to reduce swelling and improves mobility. Currently, there are no conclusive studies to show that massage therapy can treat lower back pain more effectively than usual care long-term. But massage has been shown to get patients back to regular mobility and decrease pain levels faster. Managing lower back pain through massage is an effective way to help with the discomfort associated with injury.

Prevention

Managing lower back pain through massage is a good way to treat the problem but even better is prevention. The best offence is a good defence when it comes to physical care. Injuries are painful, take time to heal, and can limit a person’s ability to do the movements and activities they love. Prevention is a much better alternative. Massage should be a regularly used preventative tool for any athlete or active body in this endeavour.  

Massage not only helps to keep tissue mobile and relaxed, it also helps to identify specific areas to keep an eye on. A good RMT will be able to tell their patient areas of particular tension or muscle imbalance. When particular muscle groups on the body are overly tense or immobile, it can signify a number of things. 2 common examples are that the area is overcompensating for another weak area, or that the body is favouring one side. All of this information can help to know what to watch out for in movements. It can also uncover weaknesses to discuss with an athletic coach. Preventing injury is all about arming yourself with the information. Knowing where to focus strengthening efforts on or to spend more time mobilizing is vital.

Attack from All Sides

A combination of treatment methods can make a world of difference. Managing lower back pain through massage should be a key component in that.

Here are some helpful ways to treat lower back pain:

  • Book regular massages with a registered massage therapist

  • Warm up thoroughly before each workout

  • Protect your lower back and remember to engage your core in any activity

  • An weak core is an at risk core, incorporate core strengthening exercises into your warm up

  • Prioritize mobility by incorporating dynamic stretching before each workout

  • Take time for recovery with regular rest days from intense training

  • Talk to your doctor for helpful recommendations on anti-inflammatory options

Want to learn more on how you can treat your lower back pain? Talk to one of our Dynamic RMT’s today.