Massage Therapy for Back Pain

If you experience lower back pain, you are not alone. In the United States, lower back pain is the leading cause of absenteeism and general disability. Because this condition is often an ongoing problem and is difficult to pinpoint and treat, you may have wondered whether massage therapy would bring relief.

Massage therapy is not appropriate for every patient, so check with your doctor before you begin. If you get the go-ahead, here are some things to consider. At its best, correctly administered massage therapy:

Improves circulation

Relaxes muscles

Releases endorphins, chemicals that increase a sense of well being

Provides short-term, transient improvement in pain

However, massage therapy has some limitations. Pain relief is modest and short lived; function and range of motion are not permanently increased; and the underlying condition causing pain is not changed. In addition, massage therapy is not covered by most health insurance plans.

Exercise to strengthen the core muscles—every muscle between your shoulders and hips—can reduce pain and correct underlying postural defects and muscle imbalances causing pain. People who participate in supervised exercise programs show a greater reduction in pain and improvement in function than those who exercise without continuing guidance.

We can design a fully integrated exercise program to address your lower back pain, with the goal of increased flexibility, pain improvement and restoration of function. Should you wish to use massage therapy—in addition to exercise—for short-term relief, we can help you find a massage therapist whose approach will complement your exercise program. 


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kim gladfelter physiofit 1ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness

Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.

Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.

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