Back pain is an extremely common injury that affects millions of people in the world.
The rate of acute back pain is very high. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of the general population experience back pain at some point.
By far, people aged between 30 to 50 are the most susceptible to develop back pain. Unfortunately, the complexity of structures found in the back makes the diagnosis a bit challenging due to the various potential causes.
While most people go through an episode of back pain occasionally, chronic back pain is more serious and defined as a discomfort sensation that lasts for more than 3 months.
In this article, we will share with you some tips to alleviate back pain at home, then switch gears to discuss the role of dry needling.
How to relieve back pain at home
Here are some tips to alleviate back pain at home:
Practicing yoga and meditation boosts the release of endorphins in the central nervous system.
These chemicals have analgesic properties that improve chronic pain, stress, and anxiety.
While many people still believe that you need to avoid physical activity when you are dealing with back pain, recent evidence suggests otherwise. However, this does not mean you should lift weights when your back is hurting; it just means that you should shorten your immobility duration.
Moving your body allows for a speedy recovery, especially when you target the correct muscle groups.
For instance, the abdominal muscles significantly reduce the tension applied to your back. For this reason, focusing on these muscles during workouts should be a priority to reduce the frequency and intensity of back injuries.
Get better sleep
Researchers repeatedly confirmed the health benefits of sleeping adequately. It improves hormonal balance, relieves pain, and restores depleted energy.
Overall, healthy sleep can dramatically accelerate the healing process after injuring your back.
Besides the tips listed above, dry needling seems to be particularly effective in addressing back pain.
Here is what we know so far:
Dry needling (DN) is a special treatment that belongs to alternative medicine. The procedure involves the use of filiform needles (commonly used in acupuncture) to deactivate myofascial trigger points. These points are hyperirritable, discrete, focal spots located on your muscles.
In general, there three types of trigger points – active, latent, and satellite. These types describe the relationship between applied pressure and the resulted pain.
For instance, active trigger points elicit pain without any applied pressure. This is also referred to as spontaneous pain. Latent trigger points, on the other hand, present with pain with applied pressure.
Finally, satellite trigger points occur in the specific area of referred pain that radiates from active trigger points.
The effectiveness of dry needling in producing a positive result for back pain is dependent on the twitch response, which is a transient contraction or dimpling of the muscles due to external pressure. The sudden change of pressure on the trigger point by needle penetration produces this response, and it can be a sign that your back pain will subside.
Mechanism of Action
While we have a slight understanding of how dry needling works, researchers are still unclear about the exact underlying mechanism of this technique.
According to current theories, dry needling promotes an opioid-mediated pain suppression that blocks the release of noxious chemicals.
Furthermore, the levels of substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide drop, which are two chemicals trigger pain.
In summary, dry needling seems to have physical and biochemical effects on the brain and affected muscles, which explains its analgesic properties.
Side effects of dry needling
Similar to other therapies, dry needling may cause some mild side effects, which are mainly present around the side of injection.
Some of these side effects include:
• Temporary soreness
In rare cases, nonsterile needles are utilized, which increases your risk of infections and diseases. Make sure that your practitioner is using sterile needles.
Back pain is an extremely common condition that affects millions of people across the world. The good news is that we can do a lot to address this issue, especially using alternative therapies, such as dry needling.
We hope that this article managed to answer some of the questions you had; however, if you have any concerns about dry needling and back pain, please do not hesitate to reach out to us by clicking on this link.
Sports massage is an excellent way to address chronic pain and several other conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system.
To put it in simple words, a sports massage is an act of pressing and manipulating the skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments to relieve stress and induce relaxation; it could range from superficial massage to deep pressure techniques.
Today, massage therapy is recommended for some patients to treat various medical conditions, including rotator cuff syndrome, sciatica, insomnia, and even depression.
In this article, we will discuss the role of sports massage in chronic pain and how to use this technique in your favor.
The benefits of sports massage
1. Reduces muscle tension
By increasing blood flow to the muscles, a sports massage can significantly reduce muscle tension and decrease post-exertional recovery time.
Additionally, the active and passive contractions of the muscle will help loosen it up along with the attached tendons.
All in all, a sports massage reduces your muscle tension significantly.
2. Relieves chronic pain
Chronic pain describes the feelings of pain experienced long after the initial injury took place; it could also be witnessed in patients with idiopathic (unknown origin) pain of the lower back or neck.
When compared to receiving no treatment, chronic pain was considerably improved in patients who received multiple sessions of massage therapy.
3. Promotes relaxation
Several studies showed the benefits of sports massage, especially when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety.
Experts believe that massage therapy regulates the process of hormonal secretion. In particular, the levels of endorphins increase, which are the hormones responsible for making you feel relaxed and less anxious.
4. Helps you sleep better
In a 2017 study, researchers found that back massage improves the duration and quality of sleep in patients with congestive health failure. Another study found the same results in adolescent patients with cancer.
Similarly, the sleep-inducing properties of sports massage stem from its effect on melatonin, which is the primary chemical that induces sleep.
Reducing stress and inducing relaxation can create the perfect environment to get better sleep during the night.
Note that sleeping better is crucial to relieving chronic pain.
5. Relieves tension headaches and migraine
Headaches are some of the most challenging medical conditions to deal with due to their idiopathic (i.e., unknown) origin, chronicity, and the absence of a cure.
One of the proposed therapies for tension headaches and migraines is sports massage therapy, which significantly reduces the frequency and intensity of these episodes. Additionally, massage therapy reduces the duration of each episode.
A 2002 study concluded that “The muscle-specific massage therapy technique has the potential to be a functional, nonpharmacological intervention for reducing the incidence of chronic tension headache.”
6. Improves stress and anxiety
As we mentioned earlier, massage therapy regulates the secretion of several hormones, including cortisol, which induces feelings of stress and anxiety. The chronic release of this hormone can be detrimental to both physical and mental health.
By reducing cortisol, a sports massage can help you feel less stressed and anxious, resulting in more efficient decision-making and planning, both are crucial traits to have in the field of sports.
7. Helps reduce arthritis pain
Arthritis is a chronic medical condition. It presents with inflammation inside the joint capsule, leading to the classic symptoms of:
Getting a sports massage can help address your arthritis symptoms .
It is important to speak with your physician before starting any type of massage therapy since some types can worsen your symptoms. For instance, deep tissue massage can exacerbate the symptoms of patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
8. Increases flexibility and range of motion
One final benefit of getting a sports massage is the increased flexibility and articular range of motion. This is especially impactful for older individuals who rarely exercise.
By active and passive stimulation of the tendons and ligaments, massage therapy will prevent the stiffness of these structures, which will allow you to move more freely and decrease your risk of getting injured.
A 2017 meta-analysis supported this theory when it found a significant improvement of the shoulder’s range of motion in patients who received massage therapy.
Sports massage is an excellent way to relieve chronic pain of all types. It is beneficial for musculoskeletal pain, migraines, arthritis, and even sleep disorders.
We hope that this article managed to highlight the role of sports massage in healing chronic pain; however, if you still have any questions, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
If you want a sports massage in Esher, reach out to us by clicking on this link.