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Massage and Chronic Back Pain

If you are currently or have ever suffered from chronic back pain, you know how much it impacts your quality of life. It most likely affects you when you are being active and even when you are relaxing in the position that once used to be comfortable. According to The Canadian Chiropractic Association, 5 in 10 Canadians suffer from back pain and spend more time in their doctors’ office seeking help for back pain than any other health concern apart from high blood pressure and diabetes. One of the most common causal contributors to chronic back pain is sitting for prolonged periods of time. 75% of Canadians will experience back ache due to increasingly prolonged periods of daily “inactivity”.  A visit to your rehabilitation clinic can offer a variety of solutions to relieve your chronic back pain. Chiropractic care and physiotherapy can do wonders for your spine and muscles and a registered massage therapist can provide you with substantial relief for back pain as well as much needed relaxation.

The Role Chronic Back Pain Plays on our Wellbeing

Massage therapy has become widely recognized among medical practitioners as an effective and well appreciated remedy for chronic back pain sufferers.  Medical research shows that massage can improve flexibility by reducing muscle tension and providing pain relief. Massage therapy can also play a significant role in helping the patient sleep better, which is another frequent complaint heard from the chronic back pain sufferer. Massage improves overall blood flow and circulation which oxygenates muscle and soft tissue and can reduce pain and discomfort.  A massage from a skilled registered massage therapist can aid in increasing the release of Serotonin, which is the body’s natural anti-pain chemical. Chronic pain has a very real and significant role on our mental health and wellbeing. The benefits of massage may also include a decreased risk of depression and anxiety due to the increased production of endorphins in our brains, also known as “happiness hormones”.         

The frequency of your massage therapy sessions really depends of many factors that your massage therapist, chiropractor or physiotherapist can discuss with you at your multi-disciplinary rehabilitation clinic. Both time and budget can play an important role in determining the frequency of sessions but here are few other things you may wish to consider. If you are suffering from chronic back pain, any one session of treatment of any kind will probably not be enough to truly make a significant difference in pain reduction and increased functionality. However, by combining chiropractic care and physiotherapy in conjunction with massage therapy, the benefits of massage are enhanced and less treatment overall will be required. For many patients, a weekly massage over a 4-6 week period is just what the doctor ordered! As you start feeling better these therapy sessions can be extended over time as long as your back pain diminishes or disappears all together. Your Massage Therapist will educate you on how to avoid the specific triggers for your pain. You may be encouraged to spend less time sitting and more time stretching.  Your Massage Therapist may even advise you to attend a session or two of Physiotherapy in order to learn how to maintain the progress you have made.

Here is some basic advice on how to maximize the effectiveness of your massage therapy sessions.  First of all, get into the habit of drinking lots of water, especially after a therapeutic massage session. Fluids help to flush out the toxins and prevent soreness from occurring the next day. Do not eat heavy meals after your massage therapy sessions. A light, healthy meal will contribute to your overall sense of wellbeing without making you feel sluggish. You are also advised to avoid overly strenuous activity after a massage. Treat your muscles and your back to some gentle, therapeutic stretching instead of the full workout.  All of this can be done under the guidance and supervision of your chiropractor or physiotherapist at your rehabilitation clinic.  

To rule out any serious back pain conditions as well as to determine the root problem of your chronic back pain, we advise you to always speak to a professional before starting any massage therapy sessions. When choosing a registered massage therapist, always consider a multidisciplinary organization such as CanadaPhysio where you can find physiotherapists, acupuncturists and Kinesiologists all under one roof. In this way, you benefit by having the support of the entire health care team and easy access to all the allied services which will assist you on your journey to recovery and towards a life that is free of debilitating chronic back pain.

Visit the CanadaPhysio team at any of our many locations to serve your needs across Ontario, in Toronto, Scarborough, Whitby, Mississauga and London. 

Covid-19 Update: We are OPEN to serve those who are in need of treatment. Please call 416 658 4401 for clinic visit instructions. Virtual Consultation Sessions also available.