Massages are usually seen as a way to unwind after a stressful day, but they actually do a great job for pain management and relief. If you’re experiencing back pain, you might want to consider experiencing a therapeutic massage — over 50% of Americans from 2013 to 2014 received therapeutic massages for pain management or other medical reasons. Here are the most common forms of medical massage that you can try to help your chronic back pain.
Undoubtedly the most common type of massage offered, the Swedish massage utilizes sweeping strokes, firm kneading, taps and vibrations, and deep pressure to target releasing muscles. It’s great for stress relief and overall back pain or cramping caused by tension or poor posture. This is often the most relaxing massage since it utilizes so many different strokes and massage techniques, and doesn’t have the harshness a deep tissue massage may have.
You might even think of the shiatsu massage before you think of the Swedish massage. Shiatsu massage uses a combination of finger pressure and stretching to find channels of pain within the back. By using both stretching and pressure from the fingertips, it can cause pointed pain if you don’t communicate with your massage therapist.
Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage relies on targeting specific muscles to work out knots or pain in the back. The massage therapist will try to get as close to the bone as possible when utilizing a deep tissue massage technique, but don’t let this scare you — everyone has different pain tolerances and your masseuse will guarantee you’re not in pain as long as you communicate your needs and expectations during the massage. Deep tissue massage therapy aims to heal and release scar tissue to benefit chronic back and neck pain, so you might feel sore for a few days after the massage.
Trigger point massage therapy is similar to a deep tissues massage in that it tries to reach more deeply into the muscle than other massages. By finding a trigger, or source, of pain in your back, the massage therapist then repeated pressure on the point so it releases the tension.
The benefits of massage therapy are far-reaching, but it can feel overwhelming trying to navigate which massage is right for you. Consider reaching out to a massage therapy location and discussing your needs and expectations to figure out what kind of therapeutic massage is right for healing your muscle aches and pains.