A lady having massage for arthritis

Massage and lower back pain

Lower back pain is very common and in the UK and affects around 1 in 10 people and is the leading cause of disability worldwide according to a study published in the annals of rheumatic diseases.  Most people with lower back pain will recover (although it can recur) and this blog post looks at what the causes are and what you can do to help yourself if affected.

What lifestyle factors increase the risk for lower back pain?

  • Inactivity – increasingly we lead sedentary lives with desk/driving jobs.  Try to take frequent breaks and walk around to loosen up muscles
  • Poor posture – don’t slump and ensure your desk is set up ergonomically (see http://www.cnet.com/uk/how-to/how-to-set-up-an-ergonomic-workstation/)
  • Weight – being overweight puts extra strain on the body
  • Not lifting correctly (see http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/workplacehealth/Pages/safe-lifting-tips.aspx)

What should I do if I have lower back pain?

Firstly please seek medical help for your back pain if necessary.  According to Pain UK you should always see a healthcare professional if any of the following apply:

  • You experience any other symptoms together with your back pain, such as weight loss, generally feeling unwell, a fever, altered sensation in your lower body, incontinence or muscular weakness in your lower body.
  • Your pain is persistent or you experience increasingly more pain and discomfort.
  • Your pain is too severe to manage.
  • You have had a recent trauma or injury to your back.

Assuming none of the above apply then there are a number of things to do to speed recovery.

  • Keep active – studies show that bed rest makes back pain worse.  Try to keep moving as much as possible
  • Take over the counter pain medication (ask a pharmacist for advice on which are most suitable for you)
  • Heat/Cool packs applied to the painful area
  • Rubs such as Deep Heat

How can massage help?

According to a study published in the annals of internal medicine massage is effective at treating lower back pain.  The study assigned people who had had moderate to severe lower back pain for more than 3 months to 3 groups to receive either back/hip massage, full body massage or usual therapy (could be doing nothing, taking medication, physiotherapy or chiropracty).

After 10 weeks more than a third of the patients in both massage groups reported the pain was nearly or completely gone compared to only 4% of the usual therapy group.  The rest of the patients in the massage groups reported an improvement which experts said was slightly better than would be expected from taking NSAIDS (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen).

I offer a mobile massage service in the Wirral area – to contact me or to book please click here or for information on pricing please click here.  If you are unsure if massage can help you please give me a call as I am willing to have a free no obligation chat over the phone.