The argument about the best lower back pain treatment between physiotherapy and massage has always been a heated source of controversy among patients. However, the fact remains that these two procedures cannot be wished away; but what determines their efficiency is the intensity of the back pain. Suffice to say that massage is good for mild conditions while physiotherapy is perfect for severe conditions.
However, before delving into which is better, let’s take a look at what both treatments entail:
What is Physiotherapy?
Typically, physiotherapy is targeted at repairing damaged tissues, bones, and body parts. It’s intended to rehabilitate the body and get it to function like it used to. It’s a professional process that involves proper diagnosis and treatments. It is a professional field; to become a physiotherapist, you must get a university degree in physiotherapy.
What is sports massage?
Massage involves the manipulation or stimulation of body tissues for therapeutic or relaxation purposes. It usually involves rubbing, gripping, and squeezing of body muscles for comfort. If there is tightness, sprain, or strain of the muscles, maybe after an exercise routine or long desk work, a massage can easily soothe these kinds of pain.
Physio Vs Massage
While both procedures serve specific purposes, it’s essential to draw a line of distinction. Thus, the following criteria help explain the right situation to use any of the two treatments:
- Situational Intensity
If the lower back pain has become a recurring situation over time, you should consider a physio treatment instead of a massage. This is because, with physio, a proper diagnosis would be made so that the exact cause of the back pain can be fished out. Once the case is diagnosed correctly, the appropriate treatment would be prescribed when massages fail (as they often soothe the pain for just a short while), then physio to the rescue. Physio deals with more intense procedures which are medically endorsed and implemented. Also, other severe physical symptoms include numbness, loss of bowel control, inability to urinate, sexual dysfunction, fever, insomnia, and incessant sweating resulting from lower back pain. It’s important to see a physiotherapist; indeed, these cases are beyond what a sports massage can handle.
However, a massage may come in handy for relieving lower back pain, for instance, if it’s happening for the first time, after a hectic workout session, or as a result of not paying attention to ergonomic considerations. It’s even advisable to get a regular massage if you are into sports or work for long hours.
Also, when lower back pain is related to stress and other psychological factors such as depression and anxiety, going for a massage may do the magic.
Another area where a line of distinction must be drawn deals with professionalism. Within weeks of intense training, anyone can be a sports masseur, but not everyone can be a physiotherapist. This is because physiotherapy is an aspect of rehabilitative medicine, and it is a field that requires thorough, rigorous theoretical and practical training.
Logically, when there is an issue with your lower back, the ideal person to meet should be a physiotherapist. The reason for this is obvious. A physiotherapist knows what test to run and what to look into; whereas, a masseur would only manipulate your body tissue and worsen the situation. So, it’s in your best interest to go for a physio for proper diagnosis.
When you should go for a physio or a massage has been explained. It’s in your best interest to do the needful whenever you have pains in your lower back. Consider the situation and do the needful.