Each year, approximately 26 Million Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 suffer chronic back pain(1). Since back pain can come from many different sources, the best first course of action is a visit to your doctor. However, many do not find the solution to their pain within traditional medicine. Thankfully, some of us are finding complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) techniques like Therapeutic Massage can ease or even eliminate chronic back pain.(2) According to a group study funded by NCCAM, Therapeutic, and Relaxation massage had more short and long term positive effects on patients suffering from unidentified back pain than did those receiving traditional treatment.
The outcome of this study and others like it is encouraging. But, pain can originate from an injury, sudden or repetitive, as well as emotional. So, it is important to point out that listening to the client is key to assessing and understanding their pain.
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Assessment of pain as emotional may be better served gearing the session more toward reducing anxiety levels. A number of things can be done to support relaxation such as using music specifically designed for relaxation and sleep, a heated table, hot stones or bamboo, and essential oils that calm and sooth.
Assessment of pain from an injury sudden or repetitive may be better treated by first assessing client posture and range of motion (active and passive). Therapeutic measures such as myofascial release, passive stretching and positional neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) may be useful. Another massage approach for chronic back pain (and other problem areas) is Orthopedic Massage.
The orthopedic approach employs a protocol of tried and true massage techniques such as multidirectional fractioning, myofascial release, pin and stretch (active or passive), eccentric loading, and inter-capsule adhesion release. [This is a modality that requires certification. You can find a certified therapist near you by going to www.orthomassage.net.] Also, on occasion, the therapist may decide that massage is contraindicated or an alternative therapy, such as Acupuncture or Chiropractic care, is recommended before massage takes place. The bottom line is you don’t have to live with chronic back pain. Massage may very well be the missing piece to the pain puzzle.
Avenues to solving back pain other than massage may enhance the effect of massage and actually help extend the time between massages.
Yoga and meditation are wonderful ways of dealing with many types of chronic pain. You may find that developing a consistent practice of either or both will help calm, soothe and relieve your pain. Energy work from either Reiki or Sai Shakti Healing may be helpful. Reiki work uses the universal life force to help raise the body’s natural life force energy allowing the recipient to feel empowered to be happy and healthy. Sai Shakti healing uses ancient techniques to help the client identify and remove emotional and/or spiritual blocks. Sai Shakti healing helps the individual to recognize and tap into the Divine.
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1. 26 million:National Centers for Health Statistics, Chart book on Trends in the Health of Americans 2006, Special Feature: Pain. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus06.pdf.
2. WebMd: Acute vs. Chronic pain
3. Cams help back pain: National Center For Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) http://nccam.nih.gov/health/pain/chronic.htm
4. National Center For Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/070411.htm?nav=gsa