Managing Back Pain
Back Pain, one of the most common issues as a massage therapist that we deal with each and every day and has the greatest impact on our clients daily lives, professional and/or personally. Lucky for you, we have a few ways you can combat these issues… Read on to find out more.
Back pain is not restricted to the whole back, it can be Lower, Middle and/or Upper back regions. Within this blog we will be discussing ways you can reduce and potentially remove this discomfort and pain with massage, home remedies and stretching. This is a good time to mention that if you feel your pain or discomfort is too great, please seek medical assistance.
Benefits of a massage to assist in Back Pain.
The benefits of having a trained massage therapist is that they know what they are looking for. They also come with tools, better known as tests in the industry that can determine if there are specific muscles that are causing your discomfort. However, not all discomfort and/or pain will be because of your muscles. A massage therapist might refer you on to your local GP or ask to get a medical clearance. Tip: A therapist with your best interest at heart, is better than one that only sees you as a sale.
A therapist could perform but is not limited to:
- Asking you about your discomfort and/or pain;
- Perform a Range Of Motion Test (ROM); and
- Specialised tests, if needed to further assess problem.
What you might expect in your massage but not limited to:
- Myofascial release;
- Trigger Point Release;
- Muscle Energy Technique; and
Any questions you may have about your treatment, your therapist will be able to answer. Remember you are the therapists best guide regarding pressure, so communicate with your therapist if you feel there is too much or too little pressure being added.
You may wish to try one or more of the following home remedies to assist in managing your back pain:
This is an amazing way to get those hard to reach places on your back. As a massage therapist, I recommend this in-between massages. Clients should use foam rolling on different areas of the body to prolong their treatments and to see a more lasting treatment. The idea of foam rolling for those of you that don’t know, is that you roll your body on a cylinder-shaped piece of foam, these are readily available in sporting stores and/or your local Kmart, Big W etc. Pretty simple but very effective. Some precautions should be taken, such as if you feel strain on your joints then you should not continue this position. The aim is to roll over muscles and not strain joints. Always seek advice from a professional before attempting a new position.
Stretching is used by many professional therapists, athletes and everyday people on a daily basis, to ease tension and relieve pain from different areas of the body. There are a few different ways you can stretch a muscle but today we are only going to talk about dynamic stretching. This is where you apply a comfortable stretch to an area and hold if for a desired length of time, for example 15 sec. It is always a good idea to warm up the muscles beforehand and this can be achieved by moving the muscles or a soft self-massage to the area. As we are talking about back pain, below are a few stretches listed to help you get started;
- Child’s Pose
- Cat-Cow Pose
- Cobra Pose
- Lower Back Rotation
Heat and Cold therapies have been proven to be an effective way to gain relief from discomfort and/or pain, but there is confusion around; when do you apply, and which treatment would work best for you, heat or cold? An easy way for you to remember this is, cold is for inflammation while heat works well for tight, sore or stiff muscles.
While both treatments are considered safe, some safety precautions should be taken to ensure that you don’t burn the skin such as: When applying heat to an area the heat packs should not be too hot; one safety measure is to apply a towel around the source of heat as a buffer. All heat packs should come with safety instructions and I encourage you to read and understand these before use.
When applying a cold pack usually in the form of ice, the same precautions should be used as a heat pack. By using a towel as a buffer and reading any instructions given to you if you have purchased an icepack from a store.