Massage Therapy Reduces Low Back Pain
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Non-specific low back pain is one of the most common muscular-skeletal issues reported by patients/clients seeking pain relief. Massage therapy is recognized in clinical practice as an effective treatment. However, the Massage Therapy Foundation is always looking for scientific evidence to support clinical recommendations. This month's review illustrates study findings supporting the use of massage therapy to manage chronic low back pain. A controlled trial was recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Daniel C. Cherkin and his colleagues at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, compared massage plus usual care to usual care alone in their study of participants, ages 20 to 65 years old (n=401). Study findings, "suggest that both relaxation massage and structural massage are reasonable treatment options for persons with chronic low back pain." Participants in the study received 10 weekly treatments at no cost, which consisted of either relaxation massage or structural massage, randomly assigned. Twenty-seven licensed massage practitioners, all of whom had a minimum of five years experience, received 1.5 days of protocol training and provided massage treatments. The LMPs knew which type of massage they were performing, which they did not disclose with participants. Additionally, participants were provided kinesthetic exercises to do in the home setting to help relieve their back pain between treatments. Study findings suggest, "massage therapy improved function and decreased pain more than usual care in patients with uncomplicated chronic lower back pain [LBP] after 10 weeks." The participants who received massage in addition to usual care reported significantly lower Roland Disability Quotient scores (p=<0.001) and symptom bothersomeness scores (p=<0.001). The beneficial effects of massage lasted at twenty-six weeks (p=0.007) and fifty-two weeks...
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