Regardless of the type of massage therapy you choose to try to ease your chronic pain, all techniques involve some type of soft tissue manipulation. While the benefits of this type non-surgical treatment for back pain have been touted by patients for many years, there are some things you should know before you start a regular massage routine.
Check with Your Doctor First
Massage therapy isn’t for everyone. Get the “okay” from your doctor first to determine if regular sessions are likely to help manage your type of back pain. Even if you’re given the green light, there may be some restrictions on the type of massages you can get and the duration of the sessions.
Do Your Homework When Choosing a Therapist
The approach to massaging tissues in someone with non-specific low back pain is different than how tissues are manipulated for someone with pain from a herniated disc. Select a therapist who specializes in the source of your chronic back pain. Not all therapists have the same level of training, so also check credentials online and read patient reviews.
It’s Not Guesswork
A licensed and trained massage therapist just doesn’t start rubbing and kneading your muscles. They will assess your condition and take your medical history into account when determining the level of pressure to apply and what areas to target.
There May Be Initial Discomfort
Some level of mild pain may be experienced after your first few sessions, although this discomfort should go away as your muscles become more relaxed and flexible. Communicate with your therapist during each session and let them know if the pressure is too much.
Sample Different Massage Options
A Swedish massage involves long, gliding strokes and kneading motions to increase circulation while a neuromuscular massage involves short intervals of varying degrees of pressure. Sample different massage techniques to determine what provides relief for you.
Massage therapy reduces the stress hormone cortisol. It can also ease anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation on a cellular level, and encourage productive sleep habits, according to various studies–all good things when it comes to managing chronic back pain.
Massage is just one of many conservative treatments options. If you are currently living with chronic back pain that has not responded to massage or other treatments, contact The Spine Institute, a leading Santa Monica spine surgery center. Our experienced spine specialists can review your case and discuss both addition conservative measures as well as surgical options for relief. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (310) 828-7757.