Back pain is usually classified into the 3 different stages of healing, acute (1-3 days after injury), subacute (3-14 days after injury), and chronic (14+ days after injury). Massage Therapy can aid healing in all three stages. During the acute or subacute stage, Massage Therapy is used to decrease pain and swelling, promote relaxation and limit the inflammation process. During the chronic phase Massage Therapy helps with stretching any scar tissue, reducing trigger points, and increasing mobility. If your low back pain lasts longer than 3 months it is important to see a health care professional such as a Doctor or Chiropractor as the source of pain may be from conditions of the discs or facet joints of the spine.
The most common causes of back muscle strains:
- Bending and twisting while lifting
- Over used or Over worked muscles
- Prolonged sitting
- Sudden falls
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Poor posture
- Carrying a baby on one side of your hip
- Lack of exercise
- As well, emotional stress can increase back pain
To prevent back pain:
- do strengthening exercises for your abdominal muscles (crunches or curls) and lower back (plank)
- stretch your hips, quadriceps muscles and your back muscles regularly
- perform pelvic tilts for mobility of the low back and pelvis
- exercise regularly
- use correct posture when lifting or moving objects
- avoid repetitive motions
- apply heat or ice
- restrict strenuous activities
- relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve with correct posture
- use proper back supports
- see your doctor if the pain persists or goes into your legs
- have a massage on a regular basis
- FYI Bed rest isn’t best – go about normal activities, but at a slower pace and with more attention paid to your posture. A little “couch time” won’t hurt, but light activity speeds recovery, so avoid laying down for long periods.
- Back pain can last for anywhere from a couple of days to weeks, so go easy and don’t rush your body through healing – the garden will still be there when your back is feeling better ;)
How does massage help back pain sufferers?
Massage will help relax and lengthen any tight muscles that could be causing nerve or tissue compression, which causes pain. Massage promotes relaxation that can bring pain relief and increase circulation that will in turn promote healing. There are a number of theories as to why massage helps relieve pain. One theory suggests that tense muscles release chemicals and toxins that cause pain and perpetuate the pain cycle, so relaxation massage may help to break this pain cycle. Regardless of why massage works, just remember that it does! Massage Therapy has been proven to help those who suffer from back pain, and the benefits last far longer than the period immediately following the massage treatment.