Research Reports Massage is Effective for Low Back Pain


Research reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine last week concluded that massage therapy helps ease chronic low back pain and improves functioning. In the study 400 subjects in the Group Health Cooperative who had non-specific low back pain for at least 3 months were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups. These were structural massage, relaxation massage or usual care (what they would have received routinely that was usually medications). The massage groups were given an hour long massage weekly for 10 weeks.
After 10 weeks , over 1/3 of the subjects who received either type of massage said their back pain was better or gone. This compared to 1 in 25 of the controls who reported their back pain was better or gone. In addition, at ten weeks nearly twice as many massage patients as the controls on usual treatment reported functioning significantly better than at the beginning of the treatment program. They reported fewer days in bed, were more active, and used fewer anti-inflammatory medications than the group of usual care.

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