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This time of year is known for back problems. The cold weather certainly doesn’t help sore muscles and achy backs. Add to that all of the holiday preparations that come with this time of year. Carrying heavy packages and shopping bags can wreak havoc on the lower back, as can hanging holiday lights, lugging decorations out of the attic, and wrapping presents.

Is it possible that massage can provide more effective relief from low back pain than medication? Research is finding that massage may actually alleviate back pain better over the short-term than medication, bed rest or exercise.

Clients experiencing lower back pain can find relief through massage, and massage focusing on relaxation can be very effective. Using massage therapy as part of an overall treatment plan for people with back pain can help them to get back to work quicker, become active once again, and live with less pain, improving overall quality of life. Massage therapy can also help to eliminate the need for muscle relaxers, which can have undesirable, and sometime even dangerous side effects.

Massage therapy is becoming more widely accepted in the medical community as a credible treatment for many types of back pain and to complement other medical treatments. Massage therapy has several potential health benefits for back pain sufferers, including:

  • Increased blood flow and circulation, which brings needed nutrition to muscles and tissues. This aids in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity or soft tissue injury such as muscle strains and sprains.
  • Decreased tension in the muscles. This muscle relaxation can improve flexibility, reduce pain caused by tight muscles and even improve sleep.
  • Increased endorphin levels (the “feel good” chemicals in the brain). This mood enhancer can ease depression and anxiety, which can help reduce pain and speed recovery, which is especially critical for those suffering from chronic back problems.

People suffering from back pain can benefit from massage not just in the short-term, but over a longer period of time. Even after ending massage therapy, the benefits of the massage can linger for a time following the cessation of therapy. Massage may best be used to help back pain sufferers when administered as part of an overall pain management plan, in conjunction with the client’s medical provider’s care.

©The Academy of Massage Therapy and Bodyworks
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