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How To Give A Back Massage


A back massage

increases blood flow to the skin and muscles. It helps ease pain and stiffness. A back massage can help prevent problems, such as skin breakdown or pressure sores.

How to give a back massage:

You can use lotion, cocoa butter, oil, or lanolin for a massage.

  • Put a small amount of warm lotion or oil on your hands. Rub your hands together so the lotion is spread evenly on your hands.
  • Move your hands slowly during the massage to help the person relax.
  • Start massaging the back at the lower back. Move your hands upward on both sides of the spine all the way to the shoulders.
  • Make a circular motion as you move your hands upward. Press a bit more firmly with your thumbs as you make the circles.
  • Move across the shoulders and start moving down the upper arms. Use less pressure as you move downward.
  • Ask if you are applying too much or too little pressure as you massage. Ask the person to tell you if he feels pain in any area. Do not massage a painful area, or massage it very gently
  • Apply more lotion on your hands as needed.

Other tips about a back massage:

  • Check the person's skin for any sores or redness before you start the massage.
  • Use good body mechanics while you give the massage. This will help protect the muscles of your own back, shoulders, and arms.
  • Stop massaging an area if the person says they feel numbness or tingling in their arms or legs.
  • Stop using lotion if it causes a rash or itching.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about How To Give A Back Massage (Ambulatory Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes