You can get relief from most causes of chronic and persistent lower back pain. It can be relieved even after an acute injury and it is not something to expect to live with as we age. Lower back pain relief can be just a few massage treatments away.
What Research Tells Us
Researchers at the Group Health Research Institute discovered that massage was the best way to treat low back pain[i]. The participants who received a series of either relaxation or structural massage treatments were better able to work and be more active than those getting “standard medical care” with painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, or muscle relaxants. The results from both forms of massage were convincing, with more than one third of those receiving either type of massage reporting their back pain was much better or gone, compared to only one in 25 patients who received standard care. Six months later, both types of massage were still linked to improved body function.
Remedial massage therapy including movement therapy[ii] can be performed as a stand-alone treatment or as part of a multi-disciplinary treatment plan. Many clients turn to massage as a point of last resort when other treatments have failed. Massage is often viewed by other health professionals as a complimentary or alternative treatment. Research indicates that remedial massage is an effective primary treatment[iii]. Research into massage for lower back pain relief has shown that massage:
provides pain relief
stimulates the release of the body’s ‘feel good natural opiates” serotonin and dopamine
offers long-lasting effects, with the benefits of massage therapy lasting as long as one year following the end of active treatment
We conduct an initial review of your health history, the impacts of pain, severity, duration and what makes it better or worse. This is followed by a physical assessment of the range of movement gait and posture to determine where there are restrictions and possible sources of pain. Often low back pain is the symptom of problems elsewhere.
For example, shortened and restricted tissue in the abdomen, gluteals, hamstrings and quads can produce pain felt in the hips and lower back area. The pain may be coming from not only muscles, tendons and ligament. It is also coming from the connective tissue (fascia) which is richly supplied with nerves, blood and lymph vessels.
Massaging just the back will help but not address the cause. A remedial therapist can address the cause of the pain giving you relief. The pain relief may not be able to be fully achieved in just one treatment. It depends on the cause/s, the treatment provided, the tissue response, and whether you do the recommended exercises and stretches. After all, the cause of your back pain has probably taken weeks, months if not years to develop. Research is indicating that lighter pressure that targets the fascia is highly effective[iv].
Pain Does Not Equal Gain!
Pain creates tissue retraction and while initial release is achieved with significant discomfort to you, it may not last. The tissue may rebound and tighten again and if the techniques used have been too aggressive there may be micro-tears in the tissue which can lead to bruising and the creation of more trigger points.
Remedial therapy treats the whole body and traces the pain back to the cause of the injury, tension, immobility or restriction. There are a wide range of massage techniques that can be used to reduce lower back pain. At Specialised Massage we develop a plan of treatment with you, taking into account your preferences. We pride ourselves on providing effective treatment that can be firmer or very gentle but always with absolutely minimal discomfort. We check whether you are comfortable frequently throughout the treatment and adjust the treatment techniques and pressure to keep you comfortable. You walk away with recommended actions for self-care.
Estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014–15 National Health Survey shows about 3.7 million Australians (16% of the population) have back problems. This includes pain, tingling, numbness and weakness that may radiate down the legs or be felt in the feet. The risk of developing back problems increases with age, physical fitness, smoking, being overweight, genetics, posture and the work you do. Causes include:
general wear and tear on the joints and tissues – over use, under use, injury
degenerative conditions including narrowing in the spinal canal, joints, arthritis
osteoporosis lack of exercise
pressure on nerves through tense tissues, bulging discs or spinal nerve compression
pain radiating from soft tissue restrictions elsewhere in the body
chronic inflammatory conditions such as fibromyalgia, ankylosing spondylitis
Suffering from lower back pain? Don’t let it rule your life. Don’t suffer in silence. Talk to a massage therapist today to learn how they can help you.
Nicky Scrivener RMT, Ba NS, Cert Midwifery, MFFS
[i] Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Kahn J, et al. A comparison of the effects of 2 types of massage and usual care on chronic low-back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. [ii] Schleip R, Muller DG. Use it or lose it: Recommendations for Fascia-oriented Training applications in sports and movement therapy. Published in: Fascial Dysfunction Manual therapy approaches, Ch 8. 2014. Handspring Publishing UK. [iii] Analysis of National Survey Reveals Perceived Benefit of CAM for Back Pain. 11/06/2010. https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/060110.htm. Downloaded 16/1/2017. [iv] Langevin et al. 2005 cited in Chaitow L . Th clinical relevance of the functions of fascia: Translating the science. Recommendations for Fascia-oriented Training applications in sports and movement therapy. Published in: Fascial Dysfunction Manual therapy approaches, Ch 1. 2014. Handspring Publishing UK.