A regular massage is often considered to be a treat, rather than a necessity. Most people believe that having a massage is good for aches and pains, or can help if they’ve overdone it with exercise. Not everybody realizes that massage therapy is also an effective intervention that can help people with chronic back problems reduce their discomfort and improve their quality of life.
Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain and if you’re one of the 31 million Americans who suffers with back pain at some point in their life, you’ll know how miserable it can be. If you are dealing with chronic back pain – which is pain that’s lasted more than three months and less than six - it can impact on your daily life, and stop you doing the things you want to do. You could be reliant on drugs to keep you mobile or help you sleep. Some issues don't get better, sometimes even after surgery, so the focus is often on mitigating the pain and maintaining the ability to perform activities of daily living.
The vicious pain cycle
If you can no longer exercise pain-free, you might end up in a vicious cycle of inactivity which makes your pain worse, which can stop you from being active. Taking more medication just masks the problem. Also, opioids like codeine can lose their power over time as you build up a tolerance to their effects. They can also have unwanted side effects.
What you need is a way to treat your back pain that is effective but doesn’t have the side effects. Luckily, research has shown that regular massage along with your prescribed medication and any other advice from your healthcare provider can help you manage your back pain and start to live a more active life.
How massage can help beat back pain
A massage session doesn’t just relax you, it can help to promote tissue repair, increase blood circulation and improve your stress levels and mood. Recent research showed that regular massage therapy combined with exercise helped people suffering from chronic back pain to feel less anxious about their condition too. The study, which took place at a pain management clinic in Western New York, involved sixty chronic low back pain patients who were split into two groups. One group received regular massage therapy, twice a week for four weeks, along with their regular treatment, and one group only carried on with their prescribed treatments.
The participants all recorded their own pain levels before and after having massage therapy on a scale of one to ten. There was a significant difference between the pre- and post-treatment pain rating in the group that had regular massage, but the control group who maintained their normal treatment plan reported no changes to their pain levels.
If you suffer with back pain and want to see what massage can do for you, book a session now and let us help you feel better!
Having a good stretch once or twice a day feels good and can help prevent injuries (flexible muscles can do more), improve your posture (and as a result help with back pain), increase blood and nutrients to your muscles, and help you to feel less stressed. Here's a few to try:
Spinal Stretch – lie on your back, bring your knee to your chest and then across your body. So your right knee will go over to the left side of your body. Hold this for at least 30 seconds. Then stretch the other side.
Forward bend – Sit with your legs straight out in front of you stretch your arms up to the sky and then bend forward as far as you can.
Spinal Twist- still sitting with your legs in front of you, bend one knee to your chest then twist your body and hug your bent leg.
Other quick stretches (you can do these at your desk)
- Clasp your hands behind you and pull back to stretch your chest.
- Hold your arm in front of your body and stretch it into your chest
- Stretch your neck from side to side or do neck rolls
I bet you are feeling better already!
Also check out You Tube for some quick stretching routines:
5 office stretches
5 minute yoga
You know that massage is good for you, whether you’ve had one in the past and enjoyed the positive effects or you’re just curious about whether a massage therapist’s healing touch could help sort out your aches and pains. So, what’s stopping you?
We have 10 reasons right here that will inspire you to visit your massage therapist today…
1. Massage helps to treat some health conditions
Massage therapy can help with several common health conditions, some that you might already know about and others that may come as a surprise to you. If you suffer with constant back, leg and neck pain; muscle tension and spasm, a good massage will send you on the route to feeing relief. Some musculoskeletal conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome can also be helped by massage, as can the symptoms of chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis and some digestive disorders.
2. Massage can help to improve circulation
Massage therapy is great for boosting blood circulation, which helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients around the body more efficiently.
3. Massage can increase lymphatic flow
Your lymphatic system is a system of vessels and lymph nodes running throughout your body which comprise an important part of the immune system. It helps to fight bacteria and other infections, and a healthy lymph flow also helps clear toxins from your body.
4. Massage can speed up post injury healing
If you’ve overdone it or hurt yourself accidentally you’ll be glad to know that massage doesn’t just help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness; it can also break up scar tissue, freeing up movement and enhancing your recovery.
5. Massage can help to increase your range of motion
Another thing that a great massage therapist can do is use techniques that stimulate the production of lubricants between connective tissues, which improves flexibility and balance.
6. Massage can help you to improve your posture
Massage helps to train your muscles, which improves the posture of your body as well as correcting any imbalances caused by sitting for long periods – which are common in people who sit at a desk all day.
7. Massage can give your immune system a boost
Massage is known to boost production of lymphocytes – the white blood cells which help fight off disease. Although a massage can’t guarantee you’ll never get another cold, there has been research that suggests it helps the body to fight infections and reduce the severity and duration of bugs and minor illnesses.
8. Massage can make you feel happier
The action of massaging the skin stimulates alpha brain waves, which are associated with relaxation, and promotes the release of endorphins – the body’s feel-good chemicals.
9. Massage can help you to de-stress
Massage is known to help reduce cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone, so elevated levels are not good for your body at all. At the same time, massage has been shown to boost serotonin and dopamine levels, making you feel more relaxed and happy.
10. Massage could give you a better night’s sleep
If insomnia is your bedfellow, try a massage. Massage can help to balance out your sleep pattern and overcome insomnia and the fatigue that goes with not getting enough sleep.
Have we convinced you to book that appointment yet?
Bella Terra Organic Spa and Shoppe in Evansville, Indiana. Sharing stories regarding healthy living, holistic wellness, green beauty and therapeutic massage.