Back massage is specially designed to provide relief from back pain caused by weak abdominal muscles and bad posture. The massage therapist can use various techniques but focuses on the upper and lower back with the aim to slowly unwind the back muscles and release tension from the muscles surrounding the vertebrae
At MassageJoy we offer perhaps the best professional and specialized massage London has to offer and we help our customers with various issues related to pain, stress and circulation. Back massage has often been the most requested treatment during a massage therapy session.
While certain massages like the sports massage is often requested by athletes and physically active people, we see that back massage has been requested by folks from various walks of life. This is a reflection of our modern lifestyles and the jobs that we do which have a direct impact on the health of our backs.
In this article we aim to explore the primary need for a back massage – back pain. We also cover the benefits of back massage and the causes and prevention of back pain. We show you how you can give a back massage using simple techniques. Finally if you’d like to just relax and have a professional and certified massage therapist give you a back massage simply book a back massage online.
Can Back Massage Relieve Back Pain?
It’s all too familiar to many of us, the aches, pain and stiffness. Even loss of mobility, and as time goes on the symptoms worsen.
A staggering number of people are suffering from back pain, more than ever before. According to a report published by EU-OSHA as much as 90% of people at some point in their life suffer from low back pain, also known as lumbago. It also ranked #1 for work related injuries.
So, it’s not surprising that according to the National German Survey published in 2006 the professions with the highest incidents of back pain are clerical jobs with a lot of desk work. They rank right up there with athletic professionals. And according to the same study, women are at even greater risk ranking as much as 8% higher in diagnosis of low back pain.
There are many factors at play when it comes to back pain. Some of these include career choice, but other contributors include age, lifestyle, and ergonomics. Even whole body vibration caused by occupations such as driving can increase the risk of back pain and even injury.
The good news is, for the vast majority of people who suffer from lumbago or other back pain, there is help. While it can be very painful, it’s rarely serious. And since it is primarily an issue that most doctors cannot “fix” many distressed individuals have turned to massage therapy for relief.
Massage therapy remains a growing profession for good reason. As the number of those suffering rises, so does the need for knowledgeable professionals to relieve the distress and return their clients to a high quality of life.
Back Massage Techniques
Trained Massage Therapists are equipped with multiple techniques that will not only bring temporary relaxation, but can most assuredly aid in recovery. Restoring the quality of life their clients have missed.
The techniques employed will depend on the specific type and location of back pain being experienced. And quite often a combination of techniques is called for to address the issue fully.
Good communication between client and masseuse is vital. Every client is different because each body is a little different. Some techniques may be too intense, and thus counterproductive depending on the physiology of the client.
Let’s look at some of the specific techniques now.
Effleurage is often used to warm up and relax the muscle fibers and prepare the client for other, more intensive techniques. This massage technique uses slow, gliding strokes parallel to muscle fibers in the same direction as the flow of blood. This is one of the most popular portions of back massage due to its relaxing nature.
Longitudinal Gliding, similar to Effleurage this is a very simple back massage technique where more firm, rather than gliding, strokes are employed parallel to the muscle tissues the direction of the blood flow. The masseuse will often utilize a massage tool such as a roller in order to increase pressure for this technique with the purpose being to increase the length of the muscle tissues and improve flexibility.
Trigger Point Release is the method of placing firm pressure into the affected area, usually with a thumb, finger or massage tool. It is fantastic for eliminating severe pain that stems from extreme tightness and “knots” in muscle fibers. This technique is very effective, though it can be more painful as the pressure on the trigger point is increased. As the pressure is held firm, the pain begins to lessen with increased blood flow and loosened muscle fibers. Then more pressure can be added, repeating as needed until the muscle is loose and the “knot” is gone. Clients generally experience noticeable relief from this technique.
Compression broadening is very similar to trigger point release, in that it requires static firm pressure on the muscle. However, with this technique, the therapist uses two fists or massage tools and as the pressure is applied, slowly the two fists are pulled apart in opposite directions along the muscle tissue.
Friction is another back massage technique that is often used more by massage therapists. It is a method of using rapid, short movements with the hands or massage tools NOT moving over the client’s skin. There is no gliding motion with this technique. It is very useful in breaking up adhesions from old injuries and surgeries. It can greatly assist in increasing range of motion that was hindered by adhesions.
How To Give a Back Massage
While there are many professional techniques and therapies requiring specialized training, this does not mean that only professionals can give a great back massage. But what if you’re a novice and you want to treat your loved one to a massage or relieve their pain after a long days work?
The good news is that there are simple back massage techniques can easily be learned in just a few simple steps for those who want to treat a loved one to a relaxing and rejuvenating massage at home.
Get Comfortable. This is very important, use pillows or firmly rolled up blankets or yoga mats as bolsters in order to maintain comfort and minimize stress on joints from being in an awkward position. Insuring that the room is a comfortable temperature is also important. Use a sheet or light blanket to cover the areas you aren’t working on in order to maintain temperature.
Gather your tools. While you may only be using your hands, knuckles, and elbows. You will still need other items to make this the best experience. Lotions or massage oils are very important. Most experts suggest oil, rather than a lotion due to the fact that you get more glide and oil will last longer with a smaller amount. It does not need to be extravagant, expensive massage oil. Simple is just as effective. You can use jojoba oil, almond oil, and some even use baby oil. This part is up to you and your price range and personal preference.
It is also useful to have relaxing music playing, not just for ambiance; it actually assists in keeping rhythm slow while massaging. It can be difficult for the inexperienced to keep a slow, steady motion needed for a great massage.
Warm up the muscles first! This is essential to making a back massage beneficial. The tense muscles can react with spasm if not warmed up first. So always begin with slow, gliding strokes, in the same direction as blood flow, along the length of the muscles. Begin with light pressure and slowly the pressure can be increased. Remember, good communication is important to insure the best experience and to not make pain worse.
Back massage is best worked from shoulders down, and then back up. Increase pressure and with firm, gliding strokes, using the palms of your hands work down the back. This will increase blood flow to the muscles and bring relief and healing deep into the muscle fiber. As the muscle tissue is relaxed, and blood flow increased, it is time to work on specific problem areas. Commonly called “knots” these painful areas in the muscle feel hard, often nearly as hard as bone, so make sure you are not pushing on bone. Once determined that it is indeed muscle began applying firm pressure and hold steady for 5-8 seconds. The pain should lessen with the pressure pushing the fibers apart and allowing blood flow. Then apply more firm pressure again and hold 5-8 seconds. Repeat this process to loosen the “knot” and then return to long gliding strokes in order to broaden and flatten the muscle tissue.
Cool down is a repeat of the “warm up” step. Slow and steady, but much less firm keeping hands flat and gliding in the direction of blood flow. This step is very important for the muscles to be able to regulate blood flow and assist in the healing process. It also assists greatly in relaxation which assists not only in the physical well being of the person receiving the back massage, but also in the mental well being.
It is a wonderful thing to learn and practice, in order to offer relief and comfort to those you love.
Lower Back Massage
Lower back pain is far more common, and by far the greatest complaint both in work related injuries and non-work related. Those forced to lead more sedentary lifestyles due to clerical work suffer the most.
When it comes to massage and therapy for back pain, a slightly different approach is taken when it is specific to low back pain. The reason for this is because of the various muscle groups involved. Lower back pain often includes the hips and sacral regions as well. This can often complicate matters because sciatica pain can be very difficult to treat. It is a highly sensitive nerve region and can cause excruciating pain if not handled properly.
Also, due to the natural curve of the spine in the lower back, it can be very uncomfortable to be on a massage table too long without the appropriate bolsters. It is important to not remain in the same position for more than 15-20 minutes, and when in a supine position it is helpful to use bolsters under the knees. Larger bolsters are the best as long as it remains comfortable.
In dealing specifically with lower back pain, many experienced massage therapists will employ a number of different techniques in turn and will find it vital to also extend into the hips and upper gluteus region. Even the hamstrings can be affected when the lower back pain has become severe. The human body has a vast amount of muscle tissue which is connected so closely and even overlaps in many areas. It important for complete healing to take place, that all affected areas are properly treated.
How To Relieve Back Pain
In a world where nearly 100% of the population suffers from back pain at some point, and nearly half of the population is suffering chronic back pain currently, it is vital that a solution is found. We know that the causes are many and varied. We also know that as technology increases, so too does the number of workers spending their days at desks doing clerical jobs that tend to aggravate, if not cause, back problems. However, since that is not likely to change anytime soon, there must be something that can be done to assist all of those who suffer this pain daily. According to experts there are definitely steps to take in order to relieve the strain on our backs and prevent further damage.
- Ergonomic chairs, these assist with posture and relieve back strain.
- Back massage will aid in healing by increasing blood flow to damaged tissue and also prevents further damage by keeping muscle tissue healthy.
- Periodic breaks, to change position and stretch.
- Exercise, this will keep the body strong overall and will aid in muscle strength which will prevent pain and injury.
- Maintain healthy body weight, this prevents undue strain on the back, especially the lower back.
- Proper posture, this is vital in preventing damage to muscle tissue.
Back Pain Causes
While there is certainly more than one style of therapy for back pain relief, most professionals agree on the causes. According to research published in 2006 in the US National Library of Medicine, back injury is one of the largest number of work related injuries, ranking at nearly 70%.
Their findings show that this is caused in large part by occupations requiring long hours in awkward positions or requiring repetitive motions that are difficult on back muscles and cause strain.
In addition, occupations requiring a majority of work time at a desk that is not equipped with ergonomic chairs will also fall into this category. In spite of the high number of back pain complaints and work related injuries, most employers do not see the need to replace equipment and office furniture in order to prevent damage to employees.
At times it even is difficult or impossible due to workload for employees to take a break to stretch their back or change positions, even for a short time.
While genetics and lifestyle can play a role in back pain, the vast majority is directly related to occupation.
Massage for Back Pain
It may seem complicated due to the vast amount of information available and some professional opinions may contradict. However, unless there is a rare, serious condition requiring surgery or other special treatment massage is clearly the best and most productive option for back pain. The very nature of the problem is such that the lessening of blood flow to muscle fiber and the tensing of the fibers which prevents and even exacerbates the issue means that the best answer is definitely massage.
Massage causes the muscles to relax and opens up the fibers to allow healing blood flow, which brings oxygen into the muscle tissue and eases pain while allowing healing to take place. It may not happen all at once, but it is a proven method which has brought relief to countless and as research improves knowledge on the subject this will only increase.
Should I Use a Back Massager?
One of the most popular items on the market today are electronic back massagers. They seem to be everywhere, coin operated back massagers are even popping up in shopping malls and other populated outlets. There are countless styles to be had in nearly every shop and website, each with various modes and features, all promising to offer relief of backache. But are the worth it? Do they even work?
The answer can be a bit complicated, simply because there are so many types of back pain ranging from minor to debilitating.
If the back pain in question is relatively minor and the back massager seems to offer comfort and relaxation, then it is probably harmless. However, for more serious back pain issues, it is definitely best to see a professional. The amount of pressure on sensitive spinal areas really is best if done by an actual person, especially a trained professional. The real benefit of mechanical back massagers is largely untested and some have actually caused further harm.
It can seem very overwhelming, especially when you are already suffering with back pain, to try to sort through all the information and try to find a real solution to your problem and get relief. However, it isn’t as complicated as it seems. It doesn’t have to be a difficult process to find a trusted professional to help you find the relief you need. It doesn’t have to be a scheduling nightmare for those of us who are already overbooked. Thankfully there are wonderful services out there such as mobile massage services, which are staffed by caring professionals ready to ease pain and aid in healing. Now I can easily book online to find a mobile massage near me. Do not despair, help is out there, and it just may be closer than you think.