"When I was in massage school, I had back pain so bad I couldn't bend down to tie my shoes. Good thing I liked wearing clogs! I made an appointment with one of my instructors. During the session, I could tell that the right spots were being worked on. In fact, some of the spots were trigger points that referred pain into my hips and gluteal region. After the session, I scheduled another appointment so I could stay on top of it. I knew that finally, I was on the right track." -- Gina's true story
Another time, long before massage school, I was throwing a bag of trash into a dumpster at work. I felt a twinge and the next day I knew something was wrong. I went to the doctor who prescribed physical therapy. I did the exercises every day, even though at first it hurt. But while I was getting stronger every day, the "spot" was still there. a friend told me about a local massage therapist. I had one appointment, loved it and bought a 3-pack. By the end of the 3rd session the pain was gone. I liked massage so much though, I kept coming back every month for maintenance.
Of course I didn't know it at the time but we were working on muscles. The "long ago" story was one of the erector spinae muscles-- the ones that hold the spine erect. They are spinalis, iliocostalis, and longisimus.
The low back muscles we worked on included psoas, quadratus lumborum (the low back muscle) and actually rectus femoris-- one of the quadriceps that is also a hip flexor. Any of these muscles can develop trigger points that reduce blood flow to the area and prevent the muscle from enjoying a normal resting length.
If you are seeking massage for back pain encourage your massage therapist to perform results-oriented work to restore these muscles to a more normal resting length, release the trigger points, and get your body back into its optimal posture.