One of the most common reasons a client comes in for a massage is because they are experiencing back pain. This can be due to a variety of reasons. Some common complaints are from clients who are constantly lifting and carrying small children, or who were overzealous in their workout at the gym, or who were in a car accident many years ago but are still experiencing pain. Massage is a great choice to ease back pain.
When you receive a massage, your brain will release natural pain killers and mood elevators. Your circulation increases, and fresh blood and lymph are carried throughout the body. Your muscle tension and stress levels will decrease. The combination of these actions results in a decrease in pain, and an increase in the ability to heal faster from injuries.
Studies have shown that compared to control groups not receiving massage, those receiving massage reported less severe pain, less reliance on pain medication, longer lasting pain-free stretches of time, and overall better daily functioning. The type of massage did not matter, but the consistency of treatments did matter. I would suggest for moderate back pain, commit to coming in for a massage every other week for a few months, and see how your pain level improves. It is far more enjoyable than other invasive methods of treating back pain.
This being said, massage is not a cure all. It does facilitate healing, and you can use it in conjunction with other methods of treatment, like regular exercise to strengthen your core and back, for best results.
-Colleen C (Lead LMT at The Dragontree Thurman)