It took a while, but there is now a consensus. Medical doctors, who once viewed massage (as well as other holistic treatments) as “voodoo” medicine,are finally admitting regular massage is a great way to ease a sore back and alleviate chronic back pain.
Massage is non-invasive and considered very low risk for most people, making it an ideal treatment for those of us suffering from an aching back. But in addition to physical benefits, believe it or not, certain types of massage have been shown to help back pain sufferers psychologically as well due to the relaxation and increased production of 'feel good' chemicals that the body naturally produces (endorphins) beneath the hands of a skilled massage therapist.
It’s now not uncommon for a medical doctor to prescribe massage therapy as a an adjunct to other medical treatments, since research shows that massage therapy has several potential health benefits for back pain sufferers, including increased blood flow and circulation. This not only aids in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity or soft tissue injury (such as muscle strain), but also decreases tension in the muscles, improving flexibility, reducing pain caused by tight muscles and even improving sleep.
So let’s go back to that word — endorphins. It probably wasn’t included in our high school vocabulary lists, after all, so why is it such a buzzword now? Because this “feel good” hormone produced by the central nervous system and the pituitary gland is key to an overall feeling of wellness and massage brings it out of hiding. Think about it. When your back doesn’t hurt as much, you feel better, you look better (you’re no longer moving like an old person), you become more productive and people notice. Quite a recipe, right? This means that massage itself should no longer be considered a mere indulgence, but part of your overall physical AND psychological therapy regimen.
According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, studies suggest that massage therapy can provide meaningful relief for the kind of chronic back pain that afflicts more than 26 million Americans, especially adults 50 and older.Groundbreaking research at the University of Kentucky, published in the Journal Pain Medicine shows us how researchers followed 104 patients who had consulted their primary care providers about back pain lasting three months or more that was defined as chronic. More than half reported significantly less pain after 10 one-hour massage therapy sessions — rising to 70 percent among those 50 or older.That percentage went up even higher six months later.
It’s common knowledge that doctors have traditionally prescribed opioids for back pain, which contributes to the addiction problem we’re having nationwide. Looking for alternatives,The American College of Physicians, which represents primary-care doctors, recently revised its clinical guidelines to recommend non-drug treatments such as massage, spinal manipulation and acupuncture as the first response to persistent lower back pain. This new emphasis in hands-on treatments has made therapeutic massage more widely available. A growing number of health insurance policies are beginning to cover medical massage, so it’s important to speak to your primary care doctor about a prescription once it is established that your back pain is a chronic condition.
When clients come to me with back pain issues, we sit down together and create a treatment plan, and then we talk about any changes during each visit, making it an integral part of a wellness regimen. It’s time you considered massage not only a pleasure, but a necessity as well. And your sore back will thank you for it.
For more information on how I can customize a treatment plan for you, give me a call at 916.837.6582 or email me at Kevin@HealingSensation.com.