Registered Massage Therapy [RMT] for Back Pain | GoActive Physio Burlington Ontario

What is RMT?

Registered Massage Therapy (RMT) is a type of holistic healthcare approach that assesses the musculoskeletal system and uses hands-on techniques to manipulate & mobilize the soft tissues of the body. This is used to relieve pain & inflammation, improve blood circulation to the affected area, reduce muscle tension & soreness, and promote relaxation. RMT is not just used to rehabilitate musculoskeletal injuries but also to help prevent them. During a session, a Registered Massage Therapist applies pressure to the affected muscles, tendons, and ligaments. RMT techniques include kneading, rolling, tapping, and stretching techniques. 

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain can occur anywhere along the spine and has various manifestations, such as muscle tension, stiffness, weakness in the lower limbs, and sciatica. The lower back is more susceptible to this condition due to the strain and weight-bearing. Back pain primarily causes stress on the spine supporting muscles and ligaments. In 85% to 90% of cases, no underlying cause is identified. Factors contributing to back pain include poor muscle tone, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, incorrect posture, and lifting techniques. Psychosocial factors such as chronic stress and depression may also play a role.

Back pain can occur suddenly due to accidents, falls, or heavy lifting or develop slowly from age-related spinal degeneration. Additionally, medical conditions such as inflammatory arthritis can cause back pain. Almost everyone will experience back pain at some point in their life. Factors that increase the risk of developing back pain include low fitness level, excess weight, job-related risks (such as heavy lifting), stress, age, and genetics. Weak back and stomach muscles can also cause back pain, and strenuous exercise after inactivity can exacerbate it. Desk jobs can also contribute to back pain, especially if posture is poor or uncomfortable chairs are used.

In Canada, back problems are prevalent chronic health issues. It is reported that four out of every five adults will encounter back pain at least once during their lifetime. However, back problems are most common among individuals aged 30 to 50. The frequency of back problems is equal among both men and women.

Benefits of RMT for Back Pain

Massage therapy is effective in treating lower back pain by targeting the muscular and skeletal systems at both superficial and deep layers, promoting healing and reducing pain. Massage techniques stimulate blood vessels, collagen fibers, muscle and tendon tissue, and nerve cells in the lower back, resulting in various beneficial changes. These changes can include reducing stiffness in the muscles and tendons, improving tissue elasticity, increasing joint range of motion, decreasing inflammation and swelling in the soft tissues, reducing scar tissue formation, and promoting nutrient exchange and removal of toxins, all of which can lead to decreased pain. Additionally, massage therapy increases the levels of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, hormones that help decrease pain, regulate sleep and mood, and promote relaxation. While some individuals choose massage therapy as a personal preference, primary care providers may also refer their patients to a massage therapist for the treatment of lower back pain.

Types of RMT Massage Techniques for Back-Pain

Some of the most common types of RMT for back pain include:

  • Deep Tissue Massage: It uses slow and firm pressure to reach the deeper layers of muscles in the lower-back and fascia to release tension and knots.
  • Swedish Massage: A gentle massage technique that uses long strokes, kneading, and circular movements to promote relaxation and improve circulation in the back.
  • Trigger Point Therapy: Targets specific trigger points or knots in muscles to relieve pain and tension.
  • Myofascial Release: Involves applying sustained pressure to the connective tissue surrounding the back muscles to release tension and improve mobility.
  • Shiatsu: It uses finger pressure on specific points on the body to relieve tension and pain.
  • Sports Massage: Focuses on specific areas of the body used in athletic activities to reduce muscle soreness, increase flexibility, and improve performance.
  • Active Release Technique (ART): A massage technique that combines movement and massage

Can RMT Massage Prevent Back-Pain?

Regular RMT massage can help prevent back pain by addressing the underlying muscular tension and imbalances that can contribute to pain and discomfort in the back.

How long does a RMT Session for Back-Pain last?

Generally, an RMT session for back pain can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. The duration of an RMT session for back pain can vary depending on several factors, including the severity and complexity of the condition being treated, the type of techniques used, and the therapist’s preference.

How long does it take to relieve back pain with RMT treatment?

For acute back pain, which is pain that has been present for less than four weeks, individuals may require two to three RMT sessions per week for a period of two to three weeks. For chronic back pain, which is pain that has been present for more than three months, individuals may require ongoing RMT treatment on a regular basis to manage their symptoms.

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