Massage Therapy for Back and Neck Pain

May 4, 2021 9:40 am

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Back or neck pain can disrupt your day and affect your performance or ability to focus. With time, pain may improve on its own, but ignoring the discomfort can be difficult and may worsen the problem. If you have back or neck pain, your health care provider may suggest non-drug therapies. There’s some evidence that massage may provide short-term pain relief. Massage won’t worsen the pain and in the very least it will help identify the cause of the pain.

Should I see a Doctor?

Consult your primary care provider about your back pain, if you haven’t already. You should also seek medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent back pain
  • Back pain that awakens you in the night
  • Changes in bowel or bladder function
  • Numbness, weakness, or pain around the genitals, arms, or legs
  • Fever, chills, sweats
  • Any other unusual or new symptoms

Before starting any new therapy, including massage therapy for back or neck pain, talk with your health care provider to be sure that it’s appropriate for you.

We all know Massage feels good but what does the Research say?

There is evidence supporting the use of massage therapy for pain relief, particularly in the short-term. In a review study, scientists analyzed 25 previously published studies on the use of massage for low back pain and found that massage was better at reducing sub-acute and chronic back pain and improving function in the short-term, compared to an inactive treatment. Compared to other treatments, massage was found to be better for pain in the both the short- and long-term.

Another review found that in eight out of nine trials, massage was more effective than other interventions such as exercise, relaxation therapy, acupuncture, physiotherapy and manipulation.

What Type of Massage should I get for Back or Neck Pain?

There are several types of massage often used for back or neck pain. Swedish massage is the most common with the use of long, smooth strokes using oil or lotion. People who have never had a massage often start with Swedish massage.

Deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. This type of massage is used for chronically tight or painful muscles, postural problems, and repetitive strain. There may be some level of physical discomfort during a deep tissue massage, as the massage therapist works on the deeper muscle layers. The deeper work releases muscles that have tightened up to protect the spine and it is normal to feel sore after the massage.

What other options do I have?

Chiropractors are trained to diagnosis back and neck pain. They manipulate the spine which houses the nervous system to provide pain relief. Massage Therapists specialize in pain caused by muscles. Using a combination of applied pressure and stretching techniques, therapists can ease the tension allowing the body to perform better.

Your Massage therapist may also suggest other evidence-based measures to consider including exercise, hot and/or cold packs, mindfulness-based stress reduction, progressive muscle relaxation, spinal manipulation, acupuncture, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Body & Soul Massage in Salem Ma offers Therapeutic Massage for Pain Relief. To learn more about Massage for Back Pain call 978-825-0040 or visit our website