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Massage Therapy Relieves Chronic Back Pain

The Group Health Research Institute of Seattle, Washington has published a study in Annals of Internal Medicine that showed massage therapy may effectively reduce or relieve chronic back pain.  I am a big believer and supporter of massage therapy and have wondered why it is not a covered benefit for treating back and neck pain.  Even medical benefits savings plans offered by employers (where you put aside your own pre-tax dollars to be used for medical care) do not allow massage. Patients who get massage for musculoskeletal conditions do better and utilize less pain meds, yet is is seldom prescribed and rarely covered by any insurance plan.

This study confirmed what I have known for a long time.  They looked at relaxation massage and structural massage, which focuses on correcting soft-tissue abnormalities.  At 10 weeks they found that participants (age 20-65 years) who had chronic low back pain responded to both types of massage.  In fact, the patients receiving massage were twice as likely as those receiving usual care to report significant improvement in both pain and function that lasted 6 months. 

Back pain is one of the most common maladies of humans.  It's time we recognize the benefit of "laying on of hands" by a skilled massage therapist. 



I went to Massage Therapy school and back pain was my main focus. (In my state it's more medically focused because the State Medical Board issues a limited medical license.)

Between the positional releases and neuromuscular approaches, it seems to me that we should be able to create a comprehensive approach to back pain. However, what has been lacking in the science is an effort to identify specific techniques.

I have had back pain myself and basic 'buff n' fluff' massage was not adequate. The failure of the study to find a distinction between the kind of massage makes me wonder what level of practitioners were used, what modalities etc...

I would like to see a study look at QL releases vs Psoas releases vs Trigger Point therapy etc... That would start to get interesting and hone in on what really works.

Right on Dr. Toni and this not a new therapy the Greeks used it thousand of years ago.
And I think the the human touch is extremely important not only physically but mentally as well.
herbal tea said…
Massage therapy may be effective for treatment of chronic back pain. Massage therapy not only chronic low back pain, and also helps a person to function properly.
Mark said…
Thanks for providing such a helpful information here.
The only thing that helped me with chronic neck and back pain was physiotherapy. I wish you a speedy recovery because it is such a terrible thing to go through.
Foothills said…
is acupuncture effective treatment for neck and back pain ? very nice blog keep on posting dear.i come across while searching blogs
I like this blog! And massage :D
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I read really much worthwhile data in this post!
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Dimi3 said…
Thank you, Toni for recognized it. Coming from Doctor is only way that will become mainstream and part of health care.
OMDS said…
People of all ages can be benefited by massage therapy. The real thing lies in the prevention.
This will not work as a matter of fact, that's what I consider.
Jenny said…
Massage therapy has long been proven to not only provide relief but also cure back pains. Even doctors recommend this procedure to their patients when medication fails.

chiropractor Leichhardt
I totally agree with your blog that massage can be a good alternative in relieving back pain. Thanks for sharing this blog
I agree with you and also think that a massage therapy can surely help us with pain management as same as the physical therapy treatment. I must say that it is an interesting article and I really enjoyed reading it.
Thanks for sharing this great article! That is very interesting.It is always a very good move to use massage therapy for pain relief

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