Massage Therapy for Back Pain and Tension Headaches
Posted on: January 16, 2013Are you suffering from chronic back pain? Do you struggle every day to find relief? As many as 70-85% of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. If exercising routines and medical treatments have proven unsuccessful thus far, consider massage therapy. Recent studies show that massages may relieve pain more effectively than traditional therapies.
Many types of massages have been used for back pain, such as pressure point massages, deep tissue massages, Sweedish massages, Shiatsu massages, and hot stone massages. But perhaps the more efficient type of massage for back pain (specifically lower back pain) is neuromuscular therapy. This technique uses fingers, knuckles, or elbows to apply concentrated pressure in alternating regions of muscle spasms. This will cause the targeted muscles to release lactic acid, which will allow them to start receiving more oxygen and blood (necessary to prevent muscle tension and fatigue). It may seem a little painful at first, but the relaxation effects should last up to 2 weeks after massage therapy.
Massage therapy has also been shown to improve blood circulation, reduce blood pressure, increase endorphin levels, enhance immune function, relieve arthritis pain, and reduce headache frequency. Tension headaches, the most common type of headache, can be treated very effectively with massage therapy. In particular, Swedish massage therapy seems to be the best method at alleviating and preventing chronic tension headaches. This method focuses on releasing tension and promoting relaxation by using long, smooth strokes. This eliminates muscle knots (also called Trigger Points) that arise in the suboccipital muscles, which are the primary cause of tension headaches. Another way to relieve these trigger points (when doing self-massage) is to stretch the suboccipital muscles by a) performing Neck Circles, or b) slowly pulling your head down with your hands and then re-straightening your neck.