The Benefits of Back Massages Extend Beyond Relaxation

April 02, 2019

Woman getting a back massage
Renée Bacher

Massages for back pain are among the preventive health care activities that can really make a difference in your daily life.

According to Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School, massage is not just a luxury but now considered a legitimate therapy for several painful conditions. And with a documented chronic pain or an injury, sometimes insurance will even cover the cost of medical massage, so check with your benefits provider to see if you qualify. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a summary of research reviews and clinical trials have shown that massage therapy may help with chronic neck and low back pain, so if you find yourself suffering, it might be an option worth pursuing.

These are among the benefits of massages for back pain and how they can improve your every day life:

Increased Blood Flow

When your back feels stiff and painful, it's likely that not much blood is flowing to the area that hurts, but massages for back pain can fix that. According to Fiscal Fitness Australia, various studies have shown that massages can increase blood flow in the body.

Loosening Tight Muscles

Tight muscles in your back can cause great pain, sometimes making it difficult to even get out of bed. When a licensed massage therapist loosens knots in your back, your mobility can greatly improve. While some people need deep tissue massage to relieve their back pain, those who experience unpleasant sensitivity to deep pressure or suffer from fibromyalgia can find deep tissue massage to be too much. Light massage, in these circumstances, can be equally beneficial. If your massage therapist is applying too much pressure, don't lie there and suffer in silence; speak up. It is important to be vocal about your concerns and needs.

Reduced Stress and Deep Relaxation

Not only can a good massage take your mind off of what may be stressing you, studies have also shown it can also reduce anxiety and depression. "Consistent anecdotal evidence, a long history of widespread use of massage for stress reduction, and positive findings of open trials support the view that regular massage therapy reduces the severity of chronic moderate anxiety in general, and specifically when anxiety is related to test-taking or problem-solving, work stress or the anticipation of invasive medical procedures," said Psychology Today. A good massage can also put you in a state of deep relaxation and you may even find yourself falling asleep on the massage table, or sleeping really well when you get home and perhaps even for days afterwards.

Massage is generally one of a handful of safe preventive health care activities, but if you have a skin irritation or an infection on your back you should wait until these have cleared before having a massage. Similarly, if are pregnant with back pain, consult your doctor before having a massage, and ask for a recommendation to a massage therapist educated in treating pregnant women. As with any healthcare provider, make sure the massage therapist you see is licensed and credentialed in your state.

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