Massage therapy is a well-known and proven way to reduce many types of neck and shoulder pain. It is often one of the first treatments people think of when they experience severe neck pain. Massage is an excellent, non-invasive way to relieve back tension and associated pain. Massage therapy can also be a very useful relaxation technique as it releases endorphins, which create feelings of euphoria and happiness in the brain.
In many cases, massages can help relieve back pain in the short term, but they tend to be less effective in treating chronic, long-term back pain. Swedish massage is the most common type of massage therapy and involves the use of long, gentle movements with oil or lotion. Studies have shown that massage is more effective than other interventions such as exercise, relaxation therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy and manipulation for relieving back pain. In some cases, using a massage cushion may be worth considering as an alternative to massage performed by a trained therapist.
There is some evidence that massage can relieve pain in the short term, although larger-scale clinical trial testing is needed. If you are considering massage therapy for back or neck pain, it is always advisable to consult with a doctor first. There are different types of massage treatments available, including shiatsu, Swedish, neuromuscular and deep tissue massages. Having conditions such as a herniated disc or recent surgery may not make you the best candidate for massage until those ailments heal.
During a deep tissue massage, there may be some level of physical discomfort as the masseur works on the deeper muscle layers. You can find massages for back pain near you by visiting the American Massage Therapeutic Association (AMTA) website. If you have severe back or neck pain and are considering massage therapy as a treatment option, you should first be evaluated by a medical expert to determine the underlying cause of the pain.