Massage is one of the method of treatment for backache. In a recently conducted clinical trial, benefits of structural and relaxation massage therapy in backache has been proven. Back, being a complex structure involving many bones, muscles, ligaments and joints usually takes a long time to heal. While there are pain killers (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants to help in backache, they come with their own set of disadvantages.
Side effects of pain killers
Gastritis is one of the major side effects of Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS = pain killers).
Recently published article in British Medical Journal explains about a study conducted at Denmark on increased risk of atrial fibrillation or flutter (a heart disease) associated with NSAID and selective cox -2 inhibitors in a new population based, case control study. Read more about it here.
Hence it makes sense to opt for alternative methods of treatment for back pain such as massage therapy.
Clinical study on massage
Massage for back pain – Clinical study details –
A randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted over 401 patients, suffering from chronic backache, in Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington.
The study found out that patients treated with massage therapy were twice as likely as those receiving usual care to report significant improvements in both their pain and function. Read more about the study here
Benefits of massage in back pain –
Massage helps to
- improve blood circulation.
- relax the muscles.
- relieves congestion.
- relieves nerve irritation.
For strengthening bones and joints, Ayurveda heavily depends on benefits of massage therapy.
Oils for massage
Ayurveda explains about different types of herbal oils for massage.
There are specific oils for
- Pain relief,
- Congestion relief,
- For rheumatoid joint disease,
- For rejuvenation purpose and
- For tissue regeneration purpose.
Your Ayurvedic doctor will be the best judge.
- Massage with plain hands is also very effective to relieve congestion.
- Massage with massage creams / herbal pain relieving creams are also very effective.
- It is better to undergo a massage half an hour before hot water bath. The warmth of hot water adds to the relaxation benefits of massage.
- It is always better to undergo massage by qualified therapists.
- If massage is done at home, it is better to do only with mild pressure and for a small period of 5 – 10 minutes.
- In cases where there is disc herniation, sciatica etc, massage over the back might not help, or may worsen the condition.
- Massage is more helpful in chronic back pain, than acute backache with inflammation (such as in case of back injuries).
- There are specific conditions, where massage is best avoided.
Related article – Ayurvedic massage tips: When not to go for massage