Back pain can be so stressful, that it affects us at our very core. – Our emotions often shatter all over the place, as the instability brought on by our agony stops us from living our best lives. – Our work and home life suffer, we feel miserable, and often have trouble sleeping. So what is the answer? Did you know that extensive research gives the thumbs up to massage therapy? Enjoying a therapeutic massage, and ameliorating our aches and pains, is just a ticket! The proof is in several research articles.
Extensive Research Gives the Thumbs Up to Massage Therapy
A study published in the medical journal, Pain Medicine, relates to research carried out at the University of Kentucky and Indiana. “It suggests that massage can help individuals with lower back pain More than 50% of the participants reported improvement. Of those, 75 % noted that they still felt better after 24 weeks”. And more research in the Annals of Internal Medicine, “concluded that massage may be effective for treating chronic back pain, with benefits lasting at least 6 months. Participants in the massage groups received 1 hour of weekly therapy for 10 weeks. The massage treatments had significantly greater effects than usual physical therapy”.
Massage is the Golden Key to Optimum Wellness
Massage is a wonderful natural treatment which balances our emotions, and ameliorates our mind, body and soul. Massage maintenance plays a crucial role in helping us keep in tip top condition. And if you are having a course of back treatments with a chiropractor or osteopath, then it will make their treatment all the more successful. Investigation on massage & back pain by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, found that: “Massage lessened lower back pain, depression & anxiety, and improved sleep. The massage therapy group also showed improved range of motion and their serotonin and dopamine levels were higher”
The best strategy to negate back pain is by having regular professional massage therapy. Not only will it boost blood circulation in the injured regions, it will also help to regenerate damaged tendons, ligaments and muscles. With regular massage, the body will be in an optimum mode to heal and regenerate the area/s of your back where you are feeling discomfort and pain. The benefits will be immense, and as the American Massage Therapy Association notes, science-backed research shows that regular professional massage can:
● Boost blood circulation, thereby helping to negate muscle soreness due to physical activity
● Relax muscles to allow a better range of motion
● Eradicate issues with insomnia
● Elevate endorphin levels
Did you know?
“Most healthcare providers are recognizing massage therapy as a legitimate aid for lower back pain and an effective adjunct to lower back treatment. 54% of healthcare providers say they will encourage their patients to pursue massage therapy in addition to their medical treatment”.
Putting a Spotlight on Emotional Distress
Studies show that: “Psychological distress is a common reaction to chronic low back pain that can in turn contribute to increased disability. Both short & long-term back pain can be associated with psychological distress in the form of anxiety (worries, stress) or depression (sadness, discouragement)”
This is a very serious dilemma, as the more negative we become about our hurting back, the more we remain in a vicious circle. – One which can result in even more pain. It’s easy to understand that this mental stress is a common response to the elements of the suffering we have to endure from back pain, even when it’s not serious and the symptoms are short-term. Another aspect to bear in mind, is that this emotional distress is linked to the neural and hormonal processes which are consistent with self-protection. And it is because of this self-protection, that over a period of time, the back pain normally worsens, and the disability which is brought on by the pain, gets systematically worse. – And so here are yet more reasons why having a professional massage right from the get go, is a truly smart move.
Long-Term Emotional Negativity Due to Back Pain
Chronic back pain, which refers to long-term back pain, is the term used to describe pain which has been present for longer than three months. Some people find that this pain comes and goes, but the fact of the matter is that it needs to be dealt with as soon as possible, and not left to the chronic stage. As John Hopkins Medical notes: “chronic back pain is straining both physically and emotionally. To manage the frustration, irritability, depression and other psychological aspects of dealing with chronic pain, you may get referred”. If you have visited a chiropractor or osteopath, they are likely to recommend having a professional massage, and the benefits of this is multifold: it helps our body’s physical and biological functioning, and helps to keep our emotional levels in check. – And this includes soothing our frustration about not feeling the way we normally do.
The Healing Benefits of Human Touch
“What many people don’t know is that endorphins may help block pain signals from registering in our brain. Endorphins also help alleviate anxiety, stress, & depression, which are all associated with chronic back pain & often make the pain worse. Certain activities may boost our endorphin levels, such as aerobic exercise, massage therapy, or meditation”Human touch has been the root of healing since time immemorial, and there is nothing better than having a professional massage therapist give you a healing massage in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Your massage will boost your endorphin levels, which will ease your pain, and make you feel calm and happy.
Endorphins are hormones which are sometimes called the ‘Body’s Natural Painkillers.” They are also thought of as ‘happy chemicals,’ and are often linked to a ‘runner’s high.’ – This is because people feel empowered by the extra bounce they get in their step! So in a nutshell: endorphins are generated naturally by our bodies at times of stress or pain. They are automatically released via our hypothalamus and pituitary gland, and having a massage gives them a helping hand. – So the sum total leaves us feeling calm and at ease, both emotionally and physically.
It is important to be mindful of the fact that the way we feel is directly connected to the activity of the billions of neurotransmitters in our brain. Neurotransmitters are our brain’s chemical messengers. – Their job is to transmit, boost, and balance the signals which are transmitted between our nerve cells, and other cells throughout our body. These chemical messengers are busy at work, 24/7, as they keep our brain functioning at optimum capacity, by controlling everything from learning a new language, to breathing. Serotonin and dopamine are two of the most well known neurotransmitters. And in addition to this, both of them act as hormones. – In fact, they are known as the ‘happy hormones,’ due to the action they play in the regulation of our mood and emotions.
The Healing Benefits of Human Touch
Research published in the International Journal of Neuroscience showed that the level of Cortisol (the stress hormone), went down significantly following massage therapy. The scientists reviewed studies on depression, pain syndrome, stress on the job, and other conditions, and showed that levels of cortisol went down as much as a whopping 31% after participants had a professional massage. And there’s even more good news – massage therapy not only lowers our cortisol levels, it also boosts our major feel-good chemicals – dopamine and serotonin. The latter works to balance our sense of well-being, sleep, hunger, and mood – all of which play a role in helping us beat our back ache, and regenerate our bones, muscles, connective tissue, and more.
When you have a massage, your body’s production of serotonin, the happy hormone, is one of the reasons why you let go of your negative emotions, and feel wonderfully relaxed.
Taking Positive Action!
Book a weekly (or bi-weekly) home massage, you will soon see and feel the cumulative effects that deliver immense benefits to your back pain, and overall physical, emotional and mental health. Your levels of the stress-linked hormone, cortisol, will plummet, and levels of oxytocin (the happy hormone), will rocket up. Ultimately, this will lead to the release of serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, thereby alleviating stress, and bolstering your mood.
“Touch therapy or massage therapy has got hard science on its side. It’s not just good for our muscles; it’s good for our entire physical & mental health. Proper uses of touch truly have the potential to transform the practice of medicine.” Berkley University, 2010
Take Care of Yourself!
. RMT EDU (2022). “Does Massage Help Back Pain? Here’s What the Research Says.”
. Curtis, S. (2019). “6 Overlooked Remedies for Lower Back Pain Relief.” Spine Health.
. International Association For the Study of Back Pain (2022). “Psychology of Back Pain.”
https://www.iasp-pain.org/resources/fact-sheets/psychology-of-back-pain/#:~:text=Both acute and chronic back,not medically serious .
. John Hopkins Medical (2020). “7 Ways to Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery.”
. Mayo Clinic (2020). “Back Pain.”
. Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C. Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci. 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-413.
. International Journal of Neuroscience (2002). “Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy.”