Low back pain is experience by over 80% of Americans during their lifetime. It is one of the most common complaints medical professionals hear. You’ve probably had clients complain about a stiff, achy lower back. Therapeutic massage and any other types of bodywork can relax stressed muscles and temporarily relieve pain from acute attacks. But if your client has chronic low back pain issues, they may need more structured interventions. Offer these tips to help your clients achieve a strong, flexible and injury-free back.
Causes and Impact
Low back pain can result from many causes.
- Improper posture
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Strained ligaments
- Medical conditions like disk disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and some infections
Regardless of the cause, the impact on daily life can be immense. Stiff, achy muscles and swollen ligaments make it difficult to perform normal activities. Persistent pain can lead to lost work hours and a lower overall quality of life.
When the pain is at its worst, your client will be looking for fast relief. After therapeutic massages, exercise is the single best solution to muscle pain and tightness.
- Sitting or standing in one position for too long cause tension and pressure that can add up over time. Encourage sedentary clients to get up and exercise. Aerobic activity triggers the release of endorphins. These chemicals reduce your perception of pain, and acts a mild muscle relaxant.
- Regular exercise strengthens weak muscles, which reduces strain on the lower back. Suggest some simple exercises to strengthen your client’s core muscles.
- In addition to aerobic and strengthening exercises, advise your client to include stretches to increase flexibility in tight, knotted areas.
Talk to your client about using good posture throughout their day.
- Educate your client on the benefits of ergonomically correct workstations and lumbar supports. Maintaining a healthy curve in the spine reduces stress on ligaments, discs, and joints.
- If you do not offer chiropractic services, refer your client to a trusted colleague. Periodic spinal adjustments, in conjunction with therapeutic massage and exercise, will correct misalignments that cause lower back pain.
Relax and Heal
After your massage session, suggest some self-care procedures your client can do at home to help them relax overworked muscles and let their bodies heal.
- Alternate ice and heat. Heat increases the flow of warm, nourishing blood to speed healing. Ice calms irritated nerve endings and decreases painful swelling.
- Talk to your client about sleeping positions. Lying on the side with a pillow between the knees reduces strain on the lower back and hips. Those who prefer to sleep on their backs should place a pillow under their knees. Sleeping on the stomach should be avoided.
- Some lower back pain has been linked to mental or emotional stress. Suggest balancing activities that soothe mind and body, like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
Talk to your client about their pain. Take a few minutes to help them make a personalized plan, tailored to their current level of physical ability, pain tolerance, and commitment.
Low back pain doesn’t have to take over your client’s life. With the right combination of self-care and professional treatment, you can help your clients achieve a strong, flexible, and healthy spine.
Learn more today about how you can help people with low back pain with a career in massage therapy
Physical Benefits of Receiving Massage Therapy
Most people you ask will generally regard getting a massage as a positive experience. Granted, there are a couple of folks that can’t get over the hurdle of accepting a stranger touching them. Fortunately for those seeking a career in massage therapy, there are fewer people like that and more who are falling over themselves to get another minute on the table. Once you investigate a bit below the surface, at an anatomical level, there are many distinct benefits to receiving massage therapy treatments.
A major benefit of regular massage therapy is the positive impact it has on your blood pressure. According to the CDC, about one in three adults in the US struggles with blood pressure difficulties. The tricky and scary part about high blood pressure is that there are usually no physical symptoms. Regular blood pressure checks paired with massage therapy are the best ways to know what is happening with your body and prevent high blood pressure before it becomes a major threat.
If you’re one of the 45 million or more Americans who struggle with chronic headaches, you’ll want to circle back and take a closer look at massage therapy, if you’re not already. A massage focused on the neck, head, and shoulders is the type you’ll typically receive when you report headaches to your therapist. The reduction of tension and nervous system strain that is accomplished through a massage is the key to reducing the frequency of headaches and also the severity.
Back and neck pain doesn’t have to be such a mystery. If you want to know why your back and neck hurt in the first place, take a look at how you’re sitting right now. Are you sitting in a way that your grandmother would approve of? Massage therapy is an excellent way to help your body naturally realign towards a healthy spinal alignment. From there, it is definitely up to you to maintain and improve your own posture with regular attention and effort. In time, regular massage therapy can actually help you to require fewer massage therapy sessions.
It might be a dangerous misclassification to consider massage therapy as a leisure or luxury service. When you really spend a little time investigating the science associated with massage therapy, it becomes clear that massage is a great form of health maintenance. Rather than treating yourself to one massage per year, perhaps you can try to find a budget for at least a monthly massage. The reduced stress alone should pay for the massage, not to mention a reduction of future doctor co-pays and prescription expenses. It definitely feels better to get a massage than it does to take pills or get shots!
More information about the Benefits of Massage Therapy or attending Massage School