Does massage really help reduce and prevent back pain? We all know that stress can be a major contributing factor in back pain. Stress causes people to be tense and tense muscles can pull on your back in un-natural ways and cause pain. So I guess the question really is does massage reduce stress. If you've ever had a massage chances are you would say "yes" massage helps reduce stress.
I have had many rounds of massage therapy prescribed for treating my back pain and I've got to admit most of the time it was pretty relaxing and seemed to loosen the muscles in my back. The problem I had with it was the fact that eventually I had to get off the massage table and get back into my car for the drive home. Depending on the area you live in this drive home can be very stressful which leads us right back to square one, now we're stressed again, our muscles are getting tight, and the back pain returns.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons that Americans use complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies. For example, in 1997, one-third of U.S. adults with low back pain visited a CAM provider—usually chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists—for their problem. According to a recent study supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS09351), massage effectively relieved persistent back pain and/or disability, but Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) acupuncture by licensed acupuncturists was relatively ineffective.
I would probably never turn down a massage, but for me the effects were never long lasting. Sometimes the good I was feeling would wear off as soon as I got back in my car to leave the clinic. I did notice however that after each of my back surgeries that massage combined with heat was helpful in loosening my muscles so I could stretch easier and exercise more safely.
I think massage can and should be a part of the recovery/healing process and since it's really a non-invasive treatment I don't think you can go wrong. Sometimes when you're dealing with chronic back pain even 10 minutes without pain can be a real pleasure and can keep you from going mad.
If you're one of the lucky people who have on site massage where you work you should take full advantage of it. If you're one of the super lucky people you can get a massage at work and get one from somebody when you get home also, but I don't know if any of these super lucky people actually exist.
So, I guess the bottom line is: try it you may like it and it may actually help you reduce or eliminate your back pain, hopefully with long lasting results.
a Healthy Back!
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