Back pain can have a huge number of possible causes and the therapist should be able to help pinpoint the underlying issues. They would then use massage techniques, if appropriate, to address both the underlying cause and the consequences (such as tightened and sore musculature).
The back is one of largest and most complicated areas of muscle in the body, forming part of core body strength and stretching from the pelvis to the neck. Good knowledge of anatomy and physiology should allow the therapist to determine areas that require treatment. During the treatment the therapist will initially work across the back identifying which areas are problematic and focus on these during the remainder of the treatment. This initial stage also loosens and relaxes the musculature which allows treatment to deeper muscles later on. Techniques such as friction are then used to restore the back to its normal state. The techniques used during the treatment will not only have immediate effects, but will continue to assist healing as the body responds to the increase in blood flow, freeing of tissue and increased mobility.
During a back massage the therapist may also treat the antagonist muscles to ensure the body remains in balance. The antagonist muscles are the muscles which oppose, or work in opposition to their partner (e.g. triceps and biceps).
Please be aware back pain (especially lower back pain) can quite often be related to Tight Leg Muscles and massage for a back problem may include massage of the hamstrings, glutes and related areas.