Massage Temporarily Eases Back Pain
Massage therapy may help relieve suffering for people with chronic back pain, a new study says, but only for a limited time.
According to the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, after 10 weeks of weekly massage sessions, patients used less pain medicine and spent less time in bed than those who went without any outside care. The effect disappeared after a year, however.
“If we look at patients who seemed to have some substantial improvement, that was about two-thirds in the massage group compared to about one-third among patients getting usual care,” said Richard Deyo, one of the study’s researchers.
Deyo further explained that because so many people complain about lower back pain—about 10 percent experiencing chronic symptoms—a whole slew of pain medications and therapies exist for the condition, making it difficult for the patient to choose. While most people go straight for the meds, however, alternative treatments like acupuncture and massage are being proven most effective, Reuters Health reported.
For the study, researchers divided 401 patients with chronic back pain into groups receiving usual care, structural massage and relaxation massage. After 10 weeks, those who had been treated with either kind of massage therapy showed more significant improvement than those who had undergone usual care. They also spent less time in bed.
While the type of massage therapy used did not seem to matter, effects were temporary and most gains had disappeared after a year passed. Cost-effectiveness of treatment was also unclear, Deyo said.