What Research Tells Us
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
- increases the range of motion of joints
- improves blood circulation, reducing muscle soreness from physical activity
- stimulates the lymphatic system, clearing the tissues of swelling and the irritating by-products of cell metabolism and inflammation
- reduces the release of stress hormones, anxiety and depression
- improves sleep quality
- improves skin tone
- encourages heightened mental alertness
- offers long-lasting effects, with the benefits of massage therapy lasting as long as one year following the end of active treatment
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!
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.
- 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
Nicky Scrivener RMT, Ba NS, Cert Midwifery, MFFS
[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.