There is a growing body of research that points to massage being a go to approach to relieving chronic low back pain. Low back pain is a leading cause of disability in America; 80% of Americans have experienced low back pain in their lives and of those who have had this discomfort about 15% of these folks have low back pain for more than three months. This means that one in 15 people you meet are suffering from chronic low back pain. According to the National Institute of Health’ “Chronic pain is the number one cause of long-term disability in the United States“. The good news is that there is relief on the horizon.
The Sit Down Effect
The major culprit to our nation’s growing number of back pain challenges stems from our sedentary choices. So many of us work in an office setting and that usually means a desk job and sitting in an office chair. Then there is the time commuting to the office, usually in a car or train – sitting again. Also, most of us are not aware that even the way that we sit in our chairs can add to the discomfort of low back pain.
Here is a suggestion you can try to ease your back when you have to sit for any length of time.
Sit in your chair and rock back and forth to feel your sits bones. Yes, those ones that you can feel in your derriere as you rock back and forth … they are commonly known as the sits bones. To us massage practitioners they are called the ischial tuberosity. Allow your body to feel weighted at the sits bones and at the same time allow your waist to float up from the hips. This gentle motion will cause your body to realign the pelvis into its proper place. Do this easy rocking and lifting exercise regularly throughout the day. It will go a long way to alleviating low back discomfort. There is the added benefit that your tummy will become trimmer as you engage the proper group of muscles to have you sitting properly at your desk or in your car.
Having considered the sit down effect; let’s look into some other factors that can set you up for a chronic pain downward spiral.
Most Americans are embarrassed to admit that they have chronic pain issues, most of these folk suffer from low back pain. This has lead to other knock on effects as well. Several report that they regularly do not have a good night’s sleep. To add to this most feel that there is not much to be done to help alleviate their plight. Then the idea of taking pain killers to assist them in their search for relief merely creates other disharmony in their body like damage to their liver by taking opioids. All this can lead to being misunderstood by family and friends. The lack of sleep and the constant level of pain causes moodiness and depression.
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this downward spiral.Massage is one of these ways. It is something I have been professionally connected to for over 40 years.
Simply receiving a relaxation massage from a professional massage practitioner can increase the level of sleep you get ten fold. It is well-known that massage improves sleep because it increases the release of serotonin, our body’s natural mood stabilizer. I have known many of my massage clients actually fall asleep on my table while I have given them a massage. This is a very good sign that you and your body are functioning and the release of chemicals like serotonin and endorphins are at work to help you get some needed rest and also send pain relieving chemicals naturally into your body / mind system.
Massage that is focused on releasing the often tight and painful muscles of the low back increases the feel good factor of massage. It may have taken you six months or a year to actually come in for a massage. It will take some time for these tight muscles to release and relax. I would suggest at least ten massage sessions over the course of 24 weeks to achieve noticeable results. Though I have seen some wonderful transformations on the first and second massages.
The added benefit of massage is that it is non-invasive, requires no surgery and no medication need to be taken.
Long Term Relief
Once you have a number of massage sessions under your belt (pardon the pun) and you have had some noticeable results; the good news is that your relief will continue to show up for a further three to six months after the regular massage work. Here are some results you may experience from receiving a regular series of massages of ten or more one hour sessions. Improved range of motion in your low back, a lessening of the pain in your low back and even a disappearance of pain and discomfort in your low back, improved sleep patterns and also deeper more restful sleep, an increase of positive moods and general enjoyment of life, an increasing desire to go out and experience life to the full.
Of course you can always come back for once or twice a month refreshers of massage. We use our bodies every day and it goes without saying that life is constantly changing. So it is with our bodies and getting a monthly massage is a way to ensure that you continually fine tune your body. Having come back from the challenges of chronic low back pain and stepped into a new way of approaching your life it makes sense to add massage as one of the tools to keep up the good work.
Topping It All Up
Looking over the ideas given in this article it is plain to see that being uncomfortable need not be hidden away and hope that you can merely tough your way through it. Massage certainly can help relieve chronic low back pain. You can also learn how to sit in a better way to help alleviate discomfort on a daily basis. There is no longer any need to suffer the downward spiral of chronic pain. Massage can help with improved life style choices and long term relief. If you are in the Seattle area you can book a massage with me, Julie Bautista LMT www.lifeworks-massage.com