If you suffer from lower back pain, you’re not alone. A whopping 80 percent of adults experience low back pain, making it the most common cause of disability worldwide. Like most people, you probably spend a lot of your time sitting down, whether that’s at a desk, on the bus, or in your car. And all those hours in a seated position place significant compression on the lower portion of your spine.
But just because low back pain is common doesn’t make it routine. That nagging pain can turn into a daily torment. If the ice pack and stretching routine aren’t cutting it anymore, you’re probably looking for a better answer to the ache in your back.
Causes of lower back pain
The reason for your lower back pain may be temporary – like spending extra time in the yard to prep for gardening season – or you may have a chronic condition that leads to low back pain. Aside from injury, there are a number of risk factors that make it more likely you will experience low back pain. Risk factors include pregnancy, weight gain, being between 30 and 50 years old, having a job that requires heavy lifting or pushing, having pre-existing mental health issues like anxiety and depression, and sitting in a chair all day with poor posture and minimal back support.
Most back pain is acute and lasts a few days to a few weeks. If you’re experiencing symptoms for longer than that, you may have what’s called chronic low back pain. In either case, the inconvenience and discomfort from back pain can be debilitating.
So what’s the solution for improving your low back pain?
One common solution for back pain is surgery. But even though Americans spend over $40 billion on back pain surgery every year, results are far from guaranteed. One study found that surgery for back pain was successful just 26% of the time. Sufferers of back pain are also sometimes prescribed powerful painkillers like opioids. While opioids can lessen pain, their use incurs other risks, like addiction.
Natural treatments for low back pain
There are many non-invasive options for treating low back pain. The good news is these methods of reducing back pain are less expensive and risky than surgery or drugs as well. Exercise, massage, yoga and physical therapy are all proven options to try when faced with chronic low back pain. Even meditation can be effective. One recent study showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) provided patients with greater improvements in mobility and reduced pain than standard medical care for low back pain.
The best massage for back pain
While the reasons for back pain are complex, including factors like stress level, age, and weight gain, research shows that massage is an effective solution for people with low back pain.
The best method for treating back pain with massage is typically a longer-term maintenance approach rather than a one-time intervention, especial for chronic pain conditions. Studies show that a series of massages from a licensed therapist over the course of a few months can create remarkable improvements for those with back pain. In fact, one study in particular showed that after receiving a set of 10 weekly massages, 75% of patients had clinically improved their back pain with massage.Consider a massage membership, like the one offered by Zeel, to ensure regular massage wellness treatments at home.
In as little as an hour of massage – if continued over the course of 10 weeks or more – back pain can improve enough for you to be more active, reduce the need for anti-inflammatory medications, need less rest time, and spend fewer days in bed resting your back, according to another study.
Both structural massage (also called trigger point or structural integration massage) and Swedish massage (also called relaxation massage) have been proven to provide up to 6 months of relief from low back pain. Sports massage or deep tissue massage may also be helpful if the low back pain originated from an injury. A qualified massage therapist will be able to assess your tissues and determine which combination of techniques will get you the quickest results in reducing your back pain.