Back pain is no laughing matter, especially if you have experienced it. There are many different causes of back pain. Some conditions are so severe that surgery is required to repair the damage, while others just need time to heal. Whatever the case may be, the patient is in pain and most likely wants relief. Most people who suffer from chronic back pain find the same relief from alternative non-surgical treatments that surgical patients do from surgery. There are many alternative treatments available for back pain, but massage therapy is particularly effective for back pain caused by muscle spasm and malfunction.

Massage Therapy

Knowing the cause of the back pain will help the therapist better understand how to treat you to give you the most relief. Massage therapy is most effective for back pain that is muscular in original. A physician can determine the source of your back pain and advise if massage therapy is safe for your back pain.

There are different kinds of massage therapy for lower back pain. Neuromuscular massage is one of the most effective types of massage for lower back pain and works by interrupting the nerve signal that perpetuates muscle tension and pain. Another popular treatment is positional release therapy, where the therapist and patient work together to find a position that allows the muscle to relax and release painful tension. Hot packs may also be used during a massage therapy session to improve local circulation and help relax muscles.

Finding a Qualified Therapist

If you suffer from an injury, the first place you will probably go is your family doctor. If you suffer from chronic back pain, you may already be seeing a pain management specialist. In either case, your doctor can often recommend a massage therapist who can help, and some pain management clinics often have one on staff. Online sources to find a qualified therapist near you are the AMTA- American Massage Therapist Association and the ABMP- Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.

How Much Does a Massage Therapist Cost?

According to a study by the University of Minnesota, the national average for a one hour session is approximately $60. The price can vary from area to area, and sometimes insurance will help cover part of the cost. For patients on a budget, most massage schools offer low cost massages from students who need to fulfill hands-on clinical requirements for licensure. At large spas where the massage therapist is an employee, tips are acceptable and encouraged.

What to Expect

The massage therapist will ask you several questions to find out what type of massage will best fit your needs. A table massage can last up to one hour, but there are exceptions. A qualified therapist can loosen up tight areas, and stretch your muscles to give some relief to painful areas in the spine. After treatment the pain should be reduced, if not gone completely. The therapist may also go over some things after your massage that can help in between visits.

The most important thing to understand about massage therapy for lower back pain is, if you don't take care of yourself, neither will a massage. Good self care after a massage will cause its therapeutic effects to last longer. Be sure to drink lots of water after a massage to assist in flushing the toxins massage releases into the bloodstream from the body. In addition, follow the 7 Steps for Back Pain Relief to learn what you can do to prolong and facilitate the effects of massage.