Open Accessibility Menu

Therapeutic Massage for Back Pain: What to Expect and How it Helps

For more than 5,000 years, people have benefitted from the holistic practice of massage therapy. It was considered a method of healing injuries, relieving pain, and preventing and curing illness.

Fast-forward to the modern-day, and pain management specialists see massage as an alternative pain treatment that can provide patients with relief. History repeats itself, as we are, once again, recognizing the benefits of therapeutic massage and utilizing its healing properties.

Massage is the practice of rubbing and kneading the body with light or strong pressure using the hands. Usually, a massage therapist uses oil to help the hands glide over the skin. Of course, for many, massage is a great way to relax, pamper yourself at the spa, and relieve stress. However, health professionals are now more often incorporating massage into pain management treatment plans for their patients. That’s why more than 60 percent of people getting massages do so for health and medical reasons.

Benefits of Therapeutic Massage for Back Pain

If you are trying to figure out how to fix the back pain you’re experiencing, a therapeutic massage can typically decrease pain and increase your range of motion. Other massage benefits can include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Improved immune function
  • Reduced pain and soreness
  • Improved circulation and alertness

Issues Therapeutic Massage Can Help With

Research from The Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic shows that therapeutic massage can help with a myriad of issues like:

  • Tension headaches, sinus headaches, and migraines
  • TMJ (Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder)
  • Whiplash
  • Strains and sprains (after inflammation has gone down)
  • Lower back pain
  • Tendonitis
  • Radiating pain
  • Post-surgical scar tissue (with doctor’s approval)
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Neck pain
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain

Research is now also indicating that massage can help with these issues:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Nerve pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Therapeutic Massage

What to Expect with Therapeutic Massage

Unlike a full-body or relaxation massage, a therapeutic massage will focus on the area of pain in the body, like the lower back, for example. Therapeutic massage targets the body’s soft tissue, like muscles and tendons.

The more detail you can provide to the licensed massage professional, the better. Simply saying, “My back hurts,” is not as helpful as pinpointing a certain part of the back. Therapeutic massage is customized to treat the target area. It is often recommended when other pain-relieving therapies are not effective, or it may be used to complement current pain-relieving treatments.

It’s vital that you talk to your provider before receiving a massage for any medical condition. Chronic back pain or conditions like discogenic pain need to be diagnosed properly to receive the correct treatments. Plus, your pain management specialist will often suggest the type of massage needed and how often you should receive it.

Your licensed massage therapist may use several different therapeutic massage techniques, such as neuromuscular therapy for relief of acute or chronic pain, myofascial release massage to relieve tension in the connective tissue surrounding muscles, or sports massage, which is typically used to help athletes. Often, therapeutic massage is more concentrated for a shorter period of time.

The Difference Between Deep Tissue Massage and Therapeutic Massage

Although the massage therapist directs the pressure to the area of pain, this does not necessarily mean it’s stronger, like deep tissue massage. Experts describe deep tissue massage as great at breaking down scar tissue and getting your blood circulating. Deep tissue massage is more aggressive, applying heavy pressure to relieve tension in a concentrated area like muscle or connective tissue.

Nerve Pain Benefits of Therapeutic Massage

Nerve pain can present itself as a tingling sensation, numbness, or discomfort. If you have nerve damage in some areas of your body, massage therapy may be able to alleviate these symptoms. It’s important that your certified massage therapist uses gentle pressure and smaller strokes to avoid any further damage to a pinched nerve. Deep tissue massage is not recommended for the treatment of nerve pain.

Book an Appointment

Pain management specialists from the National Spine & Pain Centers would likely recommend massage therapy in a clinical setting. You can contact a local medical center to find out if they have an alternative or integrative medicine program. These programs will usually offer massage by a qualified practitioner. It’s advised to only use a professional, licensed massage therapist who is trained to find and treat problem areas of pain.

It’s best to discuss any alternative pain treatments with a qualified pain management specialist like the doctors at the National Spine & Pain Centers. To book an appointment, find a location near you, and let’s get you feeling better.

READ MORE: Related Blogs:

Take a Moment to Request Your Appointment Now

Just take a few seconds to fill out this form, and send your request so that our team can get you scheduled.

Personal Information
  • * Indicates Required Field
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your name.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
    You entered an invalid number.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email address.
  • Please make a selection.
    Please make a selection.