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woman with lower back pain while working at desk

When applied to the back, massage therapy affects the muscular and skeletal systems at the superficial and deep layers to promote healing, reduce pain, and relieve muscle spasms that typically contribute to low back pain. Massage therapy has been proven as an effective treatment for chronic low back pain.

Currently, eight out of 10 people in the United States experience back problems at least one or more times, and 15 percent develop chronic low back pain with significant physical limitations. Adults between the ages of 30 to 50 are the most afflicted by low back pain, which can be attributed to obesity, sedentary lifestyles, or pain from a disability.

In 2017, in the first study of its kind, researchers found real-world massage therapy to be an effective treatment for chronic low back pain. More than 50 percent of those who participated in the study experienced clinically meaningful improvements in their low back pain with a disability, which has given primary care providers confidence in recommending patients with chronic back pain to try massage.

There are several massage modalities that a massage therapist can use to help improve low back pain. The modality will depend on the patient’s goal. Here are the most common massage techniques for lower back pain that can be used separately or combined:

Effleurage: Long sweeping strokes from the top of a muscle to the bottom.

Petrissage: Rolling and kneading the muscles, beginning with light pressure and increasing to help the muscle release.

Tapotement: Light and rhythmic tapping or drumming that can vary in pressure and speed.

Friction: Deep pressure is applied to a particular muscle to encourage it to release.

Vibration: Shaking or moving to encourage tight muscles to release.

Looking to relieve some back pain?

Our team of professional and student massage therapists is here to help you reduce muscle pain and relieve tension. Visit our massage clinic page to see our appointment types and availability.


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Lexington Healing Arts Academy
272 Southland Drive
Lexington, KY 40503

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