Most people see massages as a luxury, a practice synonymous with relaxation. However, massages also hold healing properties that are not the most pleasurable when put into practice. A good scoliosis massage should not be comfortable. It should reach deep into the muscles, carrying that good kind of hurt.
A scoliotic spine creates an imbalance of work on different muscle groups in the neck, back and down through the hamstrings. When muscles are overworked to the point where they begin to spasm, the best way to release those muscles is through a deep tissue massage. After a good deep tissue massage, the muscles are less painful, no longer in danger of spasms, and can return to normal activity and scoliosis treatment.
There’s an additional perk to a scoliosis massage. A deep and calculated massage loosens up the spine and back muscles for adjustments. Tight muscles that impede flexibility can actually fight against chiropractic adjustments. If the adjustment is performed on tight muscles, the muscles will pull the spine back into its previous position, making the chiropractic adjustment ineffective.
However, a scoliosis massage is not an undertaking for just any massage therapist. It’s important to have a good understanding of scoliosis and the ways in which it affects the muscles. In general, the muscles running along the inside of the curve will be overly loose and flexible, meaning the massage therapist should be careful digging into those muscles. The muscles on the outside of the curve are generally extremely tight and will need a lot of attention to ensure that those muscles don’t pull the spine and further increase the curve.
Whether the massage therapist is practiced in scoliosis massage or not, a person with scoliosis is likely to achieve basic benefits from any massage - mainly pain relief. In the short term, any massage is a good massage. However, when we stretch into the long term, the knowledge of which muscles to focus on and which to leave alone becomes vastly more important. A scoliosis massage can work, along with other treatment methods like scoliosis-specific chiropractic adjustments, to actually correct the curve.
Since a scoliosis massage requires such deep penetration of the muscles and precision as far as which muscles to target, some experts use specially developed massage tools. One such tool is the Core Muscle Stimulator (which, in the nature of full transparency, is used by CLEAR-certified chiropractors). Essentially, it’s a modified power tool with a plastic tip (for greater comfort, the original saw blade was removed) that delivers a straight up and down motion vibration. Although unconventional, this tool is ideal for targeting those tight muscles on the outside of the curve before an adjustment and has significant benefits over traditional orbital massagers.
Scoliosis massage can provide major benefits to those living with scoliosis. Pain relief is nothing to scoff at, but the wonders it works for scoliosis-specific chiropractic adjustments allow those corrections to take hold and decrease the Cobb angle over time.
Have you tried a scoliosis massage? How was your experience? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.