March 22, 2019

Are massages good for back pain?

Neck, Back and Spine | Non-operative Care


Massage therapy reduces muscle stiffness and increases blood flow, which allows more nutrients to reach your muscles. It can help relieve soreness from your muscles as well as relieve pain from a soft tissue injury.

Massage therapy can also be beneficial for those suffering from acute or chronic back pain and is recommended to be used in conjunction with physical therapy to see the best results. OrthoIndy Physical Therapy doesn’t offer massages but they offer a variety of exercises and therapy for pain or injuries.

Although massage therapy is very beneficial for back pain, it’s a good idea to ask your physical therapist or doctor if it is right for you and your symptoms.

Amana Lewallen, a physical therapist at OrthoIndy, said, “It’s very easy for someone experiencing back pain to have episodes of stiffness even after they have completed treatment. Massage therapy can help patients maintain the improvements in flexibility and soft tissue mobility that they achieved in physical therapy. It can make their gains last over a longer period of time.”

Learn more about OrthoIndy physical therapy

What type of massage is best for back pain?

Your physical therapist or physician will know which type of massage will benefit you the most depending on the type of back pain you are experiencing. There are many different types that can help alleviate back pain.

  1. Swedish massage: Uses long gliding strokes and kneading motions in the direction of blood returning to the heart that help with relaxation and circulation.
  2. Deep tissue massage: Applies deep pressure against the grain of your muscle focusing on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue.
  3. Trigger point massage: Also known as neuromuscular therapy, uses alternating levels of pressure on the areas of muscle pain. It helps those that have muscle strains or specific pain points.
  4. Shiatsu massage: Relies on the use the fingers, thumbs and palms to apply pressure to different parts of the back. It can help treat ailments and conditions, and correct imbalances in the body.

Massage therapy benefits

  • Reduces muscle stiffness and increases blood flow
  • Increases endorphin levels–the “feel good” chemicals in the brain
  • Relaxes the body
  • Improves range of motion
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Works out irritation/spasms in the back

What back problems can massage therapy help?

  • Soreness/tightness in the back/neck caused by physical activity
  • Back/neck muscle strains
  • Osteoarthritis of the spine
  • Fibromyalgia

Hand-massage alternatives

There are other ways to benefit from massage therapy if in person massages don’t fit into your busy lifestyle. Hand-held massagers, massage pillows and chairs are available that you can use in your own home. You can pick which type of massage therapy is best for the type of pain you are experiencing.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000
McKenzie Muchow

By McKenzie Muchow

McKenzie is the current Marketing Coordinator at OrthoIndy. McKenzie is responsible for online reputation management and creation of individual physician websites. McKenzie graduated from Butler University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications with a concentration in journalism. She has been with OrthoIndy since January 2018.

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