The concept of back pain can be a bit tricky. It’s just so vague. So this post is about back pain associated with muscle tension. If you feel like your muscles are just so darn tight that it’s driving you crazy, here are a few treatments that I’ve tried that work wonders. And if you’re on a budget, checkout Groupon to see if there are discounts on these treatments in your area. Actually… even if you aren’t on a budget, still check Groupon. Everyone likes a good deal ;)
I wasn’t intending for this to be a ranked list, but this is definitely at the top if I were to. Floating is a magical experience and does wonders for the body. Sensory deprivation floating relaxes every single muscle in the body. The last time I went for a float I actually could feel the twitching from the muscles releasing the tension. I’ve done 60 minutes floats, but I recently heard that the optimal state for a float doesn’t kick in until about 75 minutes. So the next time I float, I’ll try the 90 minute option and see if I notice a difference. If this is the first time you’ve heard about floating, check out benefits to floating here.
Deep Tissue Massage
I don’t like deep tissue massages. I want to feel relaxed and calm when I get a massage and I don’t get that from a deep tissue. This form of massage feels like work. Even though I’m just laying there, I’m enduring the necessary process of massaging out all the muscle clusters that have built up. I don’t do these often, maybe once every other month. It’s more of a one-off if I haven’t been seeing my chiropractor consistently or am going through a rough time emotionally. I do appreciate knowing that the muscle clusters that have built up as a result of my sometimes (well… most of the time) bad posture. Deep tissue massage is like hitting the reset button for my upper back.
The foam roller is a God send. If you don’t have the time or money to get to a masseuse for a deep tissue, foam rolling is a great alternative. I personally hold tension in my upper back and it’s not uncommon for me to pull out my foam roller at the end of a long day and just lay on it. The way I do this is by sitting at the very base and slowly lay back so my entire torso is on top of the roller. Now if I’m wanting to actually release the tension I will extend my arms out away from me and roll from one side to the other while keeping my body parallel to the ceiling. This is the foam roller I use.
For lower back tension, do not roll directly on the lower back. It’s recommended to roll the tops of the thighs and the hamstrings. The lower back is a bucket of surprises. From what I’ve read, the best way to address lower back pain is to strengthen and gain flexibility in pretty much everything around it, like the legs and your core (which I take to more or less be abs and obliques). I don’t personally have much experience with lower back pain, so if you do and have found some things that work, please share :D
I will never forget the first time I got acupuncture. I’ve only gone twice because it worked so well I haven’t needed to go back. This was when I was in such nonstop pain that I was in tears. This was during a time when I was in a very unhealthy and stressful work environment. My acupuncturist was an angel. I felt instantly better after the treatment. It was like that euphoric feeling you get when you fall in love. I felt alive. The sky was bluer, the grass was greener and I had the biggest grin on my face because I just felt SO much better.
While I don’t like stressful meetings at work, if I have one on the same day I know I’m seeing my chiropractor, I get a little giddy. I don’t get adjustments for pain per se – the reasons evolve and change, it’s more of a health maintenance activity like exercising or green smoothies – but when I do get super tense, an adjustment releases all the tension instantly. It was tension / pain / discomfort in my lower back from training for a 5k that got me to visit a chiropractor for the first time a few years ago. Chiropractic works well for me. I recommend it, but if you feel it doesn’t work for you (which I have heard from people this has been the case), don’t force it.
Have you tried any of these treatments before? How was your experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.