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How Does Regular Massage Affect Your Spine?

For many years, massage therapy was only something you could get at your local spa. A sort of treat to benefit those who were stressed or overworked. But these days, physicians like Hooman Melamed, MD, FAAOS, see the therapeutic benefit of massage therapy for people with spine and back conditions. It is now commonly included in the treatment plan to help you get back to doing the things you enjoy without pain or discomfort.

Reduce muscle tension

Tight and tense muscles in your back can cause pain and reduce your spinal mobility. Some back injuries also cause muscles strains, which can lead to inflammation, irritation, and back spasms. Regular massage therapy from a trained specialist can work on these muscles and:

  • Reduce tightness and tension
  • Relieve irritation and inflammation
  • Assist in preventing muscle spasms

Taking good care of your back muscles when you have a spinal condition also helps keep your spine mobile, which is essential for overall spinal health.

Increased blood flow

Rubbing and massaging the muscles in your back also improves blood flow and the delivery of nutrients to the muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and bone. This is especially helpful for those with osteoarthritis of the spine.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis caused by the wear and tear that leads to the loss of the protective cartilage in between your bones, allowing bone-on-bone contact and pain. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, including your spinal joints.

Improving nutrient delivery to the spine may help reduce inflammation and the further wearing away of the cartilage in between your spine to reduce pain and discomfort.

Better circulation to your tight and irritated muscles also improves healing to reduce inflammation and pain and improve your mobility.

Release feel-good hormones

Massage therapy is therapeutic, but it also makes you feel good. While you may put massage therapy into the special treat category because of how it makes you feel, the treatment itself can change your body chemistry and have a significant impact on your pain by releasing hormones called endorphins.

These hormones actually block pain signals to your brain. While you may feel more relaxed after a massage, you may also notice a significant decrease in your pain as well.

Types of massage for the spine

Dr. Melamed is a spinal expert and can also make recommendations for the type of massage that may work best for you and your spinal condition.

Swedish massage

A classic massage, the Swedish massage is your feel-good massage that releases those hormones that help reduce pain and may be recommended for chronic back pain sufferers.

Neuromuscular massage

Also referred to as trigger point massage or myotherapy, this massage targets those knots in your back that cause radiating pain that may affect spinal mobility.


A Japanese-style massage that works on improving energy flow, but also uses special techniques to help loosen trigger points.

Not everyone with a spinal condition is suited for massage therapy, such as someone suffering from osteoporosis with a spine fracture, or if you recently had spinal surgery. Dr. Melamed only recommends the therapeutic treatment if he thinks you’ll benefit without it causing any harm.

For full-service spine care from an orthopedic spine expert, call the office or schedule an appointment online.