Back problems are one of the most common – and painful -- complaints that doctors hear. It seems to affect all of us sooner or later. But what can you do about it?
The July 5, 2011 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine said that massage was effective for treating lower back pain, and, in some cases, the treatment lasted for six months of longer.
The study results were dramatic. Nearly two-thirds of the patients receiving relaxation massage or deep tissue massage said their back pain was significantly improved or completely gone. Only a third of patients receiving traditional care – medication and physical therapy -- experienced similar relief.
Massage has several potential health benefits for sufferers:
· Increased blood flow and circulation, bringing nutrition to muscles and tissues, aiding in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity or muscle strain.
· Decreased tension in the muscles, improving flexibility, reducing pain caused by tight muscles and improving sleep.
· Increased endorphin levels – the “feel good” chemicals in the brain – which enhances mood, eases depression and anxiety and helps to reduce pain and speed recovery. This is really important for people suffering from chronic back or neck problems.
Gloria Henderson of Soulful Journey, LLC, knows how important massage is for the health of the back and neck, which is why she offers an option for a full hour massage concentrating on that area of the body. “Many of my clients have back problems, and I need the extra time to work on muscle tension, spasms, inflammation, aches, stiffness and pain. It is very effective to relieve chronic back problems when clients come for regular sessions.”
Gloria uses a variety of massage on the back, but the most common ones are:
· Swedish massage: A combination of light stroking in one direction with deep pressure in another to relax muscles.
· Deep tissue massage: This type of massage uses slower strokes and more direct pressure and friction to target chronic muscle tension.
· Myofascial release: Often used after an injury, it releases tension in fascia, fibrous tissue that encase and support muscles.
· Trigger point: Pressure placed on trigger points to cause their release.
· Shiatsu: An oriental therapy based on acupressure.
· Reiki: A Japanese form of massage that adjusts the body’s energy.
Problems that may benefit from massage
There are numerous back problems that may benefit from massage therapy, including muscle strain in the lower or upper back or neck, caused by lifting a heavy object, a sudden movement or a fall. Osteoarthritis of the spine can also cause chronic back problems when the cartilage between the aligning facet joints break down. Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain, stiffness, fatigue and/or non-restorative sleep. Massage can help all of these conditions by reducing stress and muscle tension, improving circulation and improving range of motion.
Patients with severe back pain should check with their doctor before beginning massage therapy to rule out serious conditions. Massage therapy professionals work as a part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team to help you get well. Once you have been approved for massage, make an appointment with Gloria at (757) 806-6808. Your back will thank you!