Massage therapy can be very effective for certain types of back pain, and if you are in a wheelchair can have many other benefits as well. Including mental well-being, decreased swelling of hands and feet, and improved immune function.

Massage therapy in a wheelchair can help with pain relief, circulation and overall feelings of well-being.
Massage therapy is the use of prescribed techniques using a therapists hands to boosts immune function, increases circulation, and gives pain relief, all even more important if you are in a wheelchair.

Is Massage therapy effective for back pain relief if you are in a wheelchair?

Of course massage therapy is amazing at addressing certain types of pain, and discomfort but the answer for this is not completely straightforward, as there are many factors. And only by trying it will you know if it will work for you.

Massage in Wheelchair will positively affect overall wellness, relieve muscle tension, and soreness in the neck and shoulders, and as the therapist moves around the client, and inserting their hands between the Wheelchair and the client can usually reach most areas of the back and use of massage therapy techniques will work out much of the muscle tension.

At Your Health Span we do a considerable amount of work with seniors and for clients with other health issues that impact mobility. Because we provide In Home Massage we are blessed to work with a large variety of clients that really need us.

The most important thing to keep in mind is the comfort and dignity of your clients, and of course is the treatment helpful.

In order to determine the whether you should perform the massage in wheelchair or to get the client into a bed or onto a table two factors are important.

  1. How easy is it for the client to move their self to the bed or table, and is there help readily available. Most insurance coverage will not cover a therapist that is assisting in a transfer- so be very careful in how you participate in any movement of this type.
  2. The comfort and dignity of the client- even though it seems like a bed is always more comfortable, sometimes that movement alone is painful, and the process of getting a client into bed may take so long (staffing issues, etc) that the session is over before it really begins.

Can a client get a benefit from Massage Therapy sitting in their wheelchair?

Of course, and depending on your course of treatment this can sometimes even be preferable. For instance I usually work a lot with ankles and range of motion, and I find this easier for both myself and the client when they are sitting up.

Especially if any lymphatic issues and swelling around the ankle is part of the reason they are in the chair. Also, if I am asking the client to do any sort of self care, I usually find it easier to communicate and demonstrate when they are sitting up.

Pain relief through massage is achieved in a couple of different ways, by relieving muscle aches and tension by using manual strokes to sooth out knots. By increasing circulation which allows the bodies natural healing mechanisms to work better and decreases inflammation, and by increasing the feeling of wellbeing, which makes aches and pains melt into the background, and decreasing the feelings of isolation that often accompany being in a wheelchair, or otherwise having mobility affected.

Massage therapy is recommended as part of a wellness program.

Overall Massage therapy is a recommended service for people who are restricted to a wheelchair, not only can it gently and non-invasively address muscle pain, it is not likely to interfere with any other medications or treatments, and can also have a positive impact on client happiness and contentment, meaning a better overall quality of life.


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