Maintaining a good posture is an integral part of our outlook, but it is often ignored. Back pain is one of the most common problems, especially among middle-aged and older people. That’s why deep tissue massage therapy for back pain is quite a common request from massage clients.
Because the spine is a critical part of our body, effective massage techniques can help patients survive and recover from severe pain and injury.
Also, when done properly, massage therapies help protect the central nervous system. More than just being a soothing form of relaxation, proper massage therapy can be a lifesaver in nervous dysfunction or trauma. These therapies protect the central nervous region and help victims to recover quicker.
Massage therapies are quite versatile, and massage therapists use different techniques to cure back pain. Especially when it comes to deep tissue massage therapy, there are several ways to achieve pain relief and long-lasting results.
In this post, we will discuss some of the most effective techniques employed by massage therapists. These techniques have scientific backing and have been approved by experts to reduce and fix chronic back pain.
Spinal Relief with Splinting
While there are many different techniques to cure, Splinting is a common self-defense mechanism in the body responding to immediate injury. Splinting involves contracting the spinal muscles as a protective mechanism.
However, it’s only proved effective for instant pain relief. If you have chronic pain and body tightness issues, then splinting may not be enough to treat you.
Why Massage Therapy is Useful
Back massages are comprehensive solutions to back pain problems. The idea behind massages is to communicate to your brain through the nervous system.
Therapists use special techniques with a deeper understanding of critical touch points on the back. These touchpoints tell the brain that an injury has healed and that the body doesn’t need protection.
As a result, the brain discontinues its self-defense operations, relieving any tightness or muscle stiffness in the spinal region. So, there is no more splinting, and the muscles can relax to their original state. It’s one of the reasons we feel an instant sense of relaxation after a back massage.
Back Pain Massages Can Treat a Wide Range of Back Issues
Deep tissue massage can help with many back pain problems, from those caused by a workout injury to one developed because of age. Your back comprises many different muscles, and there are different techniques to target a specific muscle or group of muscles. This, of course, depends on where exactly you feel pain.
Back pain is generally a result of various neuromuscular problems. It’s the natural way for the body to respond to trauma. Therefore, the remedies to such issues need to be versatile too.
Back Pain Massage Techniques are Versatile
Therapists use hand-massages and special massage equipment like Exogun to ease stiff muscular points in the body. From person to person, these techniques can vary in terms of massage duration, intensity, and the technical method employed for it.
Effectively, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for deep tissue massage therapy. Understandably, each therapy produces different sensations and results tailored to relieve a specific form of back pain. However, the general outcomes of all therapies provide:
- Pain reduction
- Relieve muscle tightness
- Enhance muscle movement by limiting restriction
Hence, if it is difficult for you to consult the expert on daily basis, then you can efficiently use the deep tissue massage tools.
More importantly, the development and application of such techniques require expertise and deeper knowledge. Therefore, these techniques are only devised by expert therapists.
Deep tissue massage therapy provides long-term back pain relief with the right operational technique. However, it’s also a high-intensity method and may involve more than one technique to get effective results.
Back Massage Therapy Requires Expert Handling
Even when intense, it’s not about beating up the body or causing excruciating pain to get relief. Going beyond a certain pressure kills the therapeutic benefits and adds to the back pain.
Therefore, back massage therapies are only suited to professionals having a deeper understanding of the pain points in your back. Also, because it’s a deep massage, it indicates that the effects will be stronger and more intense than a normal back massage therapy.
So, when you’re up for such a session, you can expect intense pressure but bearable pain. Therefore, if your therapist is applying unreal pressure and you cannot take it anymore, it’s a sign of a possibly flawed massage technique. But, at times, it can be difficult to judge such things.
Here is how you can tell if your massage therapist is doing it right:
- You must be able to breathe properly throughout the therapy session.
- The therapy shouldn’t tighten or flinch other muscles.
Deep Tissue Massage Therapy Techniques that Produce Best Results
Now that we understand deep tissue massage therapy let’s find out the most effective methods. So, if you want to get the best results out of a deep tissue massage therapy, here are some effective ways to use the therapy.
Myofascial Release is one of the less intense deep tissue massage therapies. In this technique, the therapists provide deep but slow strokes to the fascial layer of the body. It’s a slow-release technique that focuses on the fascial layer.
The fascial layer is a connecting layer of tissues that links the visible skin to the muscles. It has a weaved pattern, and it penetrates throughout the muscular system in our bodies. Moreover, the network of tissues also extends to the ligaments and tendons.
The fascial layer comprises fascia, considered a glue in medical terms. The fascia is responsible for tying up the body cells throughout the body. So, during a Myofascial massage, the therapist applies a steady and sustained pressure that opens up the fascia.
As the fascia opens, it produces a relieving feeling in the body, and you feel less restricted in muscle movement. Consequently, it restores your range of motion. Generally, Myofascial massages don’t require much lubrication. Some therapists prefer no lubrication at all. But it also depends on your skin texture.
With better lubrication, it is easier for the massager to slowly slide across the body surface. The slowness is a critical part of this therapy because it stretches the tissues.
Myofascial massage is a common treatment for spinal erectors and quadratus lumborum. Since back pain can occur due to many reasons, Myofascial massage is quite effective if your back pain arises due to the following:
- Gluteal and Posterior upper leg muscles
- Abdominal and Pectoral Muscles
- Diaphragm and Psoas
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Trigger Point Therapy
Unlike Myofascial therapy, Trigger point therapy is very specific and maybe suited for intense back pains. Trigger point therapy involves applying pressure with the thumb or fingers to specific back parts.
Trigger points are tender parts of the body containing tender and soft tissues. In medical terms, they are also called knots and usually cause referred pain to other parts of the body. These points are tightly contracted, effectively like a tiny cramp.
So, once you apply pressure to the trigger points, it generates an intense and sudden pain and an unpleasant sensation. Therefore, in trigger point therapy, the therapist applies steady and sustained pressure on such points and maintains it for a specific time.
Generally, increased pressure on such points causes more referred pain but only for a short time. Once the therapist removes the pressure , the pain in the referred area goes away as the knots release and the tissues become smoother.
Trigger points can effectively reduce problems like muscle pain and muscle restriction. Some of the areas that contribute to triggering point problems include:
- Thoracolumbar fascia
- Posterior Upper leg
- Sacral area
So, effective trigger point therapy helps reduce pain in these areas by calming the muscle knots.
Cross Fiber Friction involves rubbing muscles to reduce muscle pain and movement restriction. The rubbing is applied perpendicular to the muscle fiber direction. Generally, the rubbing technique eliminates pain due to muscle sprains, breaks, tears, and other damages to the fiber, ligaments, and tendons.
When a person experiences such issues, it leads to tissue scarring. In scarred tissues, the tissues are not well-aligned. So, the rubbing technique helps bring back these fibers to their original positions.
With Cross-fiber friction, the therapists aim to reduce the complexity of tissue fiber arrangements to enhance blood circulation and reduce hypertonicity. The technique is also helpful in reducing muscle spasms. In addition, it can reduce the circulation of pain signals from the central nervous system to the brain.
The most common applications of cross-fiber friction are for spinal erector muscles. These muscles are quite thin and band-like. In addition, they run along the vertebrae, so it’s easier to apply perpendicular pressure on such muscles.
The muscle Stripping technique is an extended form of deep tissue massage. Stripping is a technique that involves pressure application along the length of the fiber. So, the therapist moves their hands or fingers in the muscle fiber direction.
Some technical experts call it longitudinal friction too. The idea behind muscle stripping is to elongate the muscle fibers. In a way, it stretches the muscle fibers for pain relief in a concentrated muscle area.
Generally, therapists perform muscle stripping with forearms, elbows, fingers, or thumbs.
Muscle Stripping and Cross-Fiber massages are similar when in the application. Muscle stripping is mainly used for Spinal erectors and the other wider back muscles. Because the flow of pressure is in the muscle direction, it is easy to apply stripping on wider body areas.
Likewise, pressure applied to the Quadratus Lumborum is a good example of Muscle Stripping. Also, it’s effective for glutes and quads.
Pin and Stretch
This technique involves pinning down a specific part of the muscle. At the same time, the remaining part of the muscle must move away from the ‘pinned’ region, which effectively means stretching the rest of the muscle fibers.
The idea behind such a deep tissue massage therapy is to get a deeper muscle stretch. It’s mainly for the muscle belly, i.e., the area between the pinned region and the area of the muscle that’s moving.
With pinning techniques, therapists can apply more intense Stretching to a muscle. Pinning and Stretching can be both active and passive.
Active Pinning and Stretching
In Active form, the target muscle contracts, and the attachment point moves simultaneously. The therapist directs the patient when and how much to move a specific part of the muscle.
Passive Stretching and Pinning
Passive Stretching is best for more severe cases when the muscle movement is critical. So, the therapist moves the specific body part for you. The passive approach is less demanding for a patient, so they experience more relief.
Generally, the passive approach is less intense and provides more relaxing results.
Tools for Deep Tissue Massage Therapy
Most deep tissue massage therapy sessions are hand-operated. Generally, practitioners use their hands, fingers, thumbs, elbows, or forearms to provide optimum pressure. It mainly depends on the type and intensity of massage therapy.
For instance, if a patient is experiencing severe pain in trigger points, the therapist will probably use their finger or thumbs to apply the right pressure.
On the other hand, some electronic massagers can also perform the same job at higher efficiency. These massagers help you apply the right pressure on muscles like the calf, thighs, neck, shoulders, etc.
Massaging machines like Exogun are quite reliable in delivering the right deep tissue massages. But, more importantly, you don’t need to be an expert to give yourself a quality massage if you use Exogun.
So, when you’re buying such a product, just make sure that you’re using the right head (attachment) to massage a specific area if you want to achieve the best results.
Deep tissue massage therapy effectively reduces muscle stress, strain, and other problems related to back muscles and fibers. Depending on your problem, you can opt for a suitable massage type. Generally, it’s best to consult a professional who would do the job for you.
Moreover, even when you’re buying a massager like Exogun, it’s best to talk to your practitioner about the use of the machine and under what conditions you should use them.