Can Sport Massage help Back Pain?
Sport massage is commonly misunderstood. Many people associate massage with relaxing, and unwinding. While this is true of some massage techniques it is not always the case with sport massage. Sport massage describes a type of massage which often gives tangible results as it targets specific muscles or areas of the body. It is not just of benefit to sports people, it can help anybody with pain originating in muscle or soft tissue. This may be caused by lifestyle or through a specific actions such as twisting, lifting or over stretching.
According to the Sport Massage Association, ‘Sports Massage is the management, manipulation and rehabilitation of soft tissues of the body including muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is applicable not just to sports people but to anybody wishing to guard against or recover from a soft tissue injury.’
Sport massage can help relieve the many day to day problems suffered by so many people. Repetitive strain injury, sprains, tension and fatigue are among conditions which can benefit.
I see many clients with back pain and I frequently find that they have muscle tightness in their lower backs. I also see clients who have been to their GP, have had Xrays or MRI scans and been told that their pain is muscular. The solution they are frequently given is to manage their condition with painkillers, exercise and massage. Back pain seems to be a continual problem caused by driving, computer work, slouching on the sofa and looking after small children. That pretty much covers all of us so it’s hardly surprising that back ache is so common.
In a survey last year more than 450 firms found that back pain and other muscular problems remained the main cause of short-term sickness absence last year Interestingly, one of the other main reasons for time off work was stress – another condition with links to tightness in the muscular system.
Sport massage, combined with a regular exercise is an effective way to treat back pain but there is no ‘quick fix’ and progress can be slow. On looking back most clients report a significant reduction in pain levels. For a long term benefit both exercise and massage must be kept up as the benefit is gained by strengthening the muscles supporting the spine and pelvis while preventing other muscles from over tightening.
Do ensure when looking for a Sport Massage that you find a therapist with a Sport Masage qualifcation. The Sport Massage Association http://www.thesma.org/ has a list of Soft Tissue Therapists nationwide. If you wish to find out more about exercise for back pain look at The Register of Exercise Professionals http://www.exerciseregister.org/ for an instructor with a Low Back Pain qualification.