Research review into lower back pain
“A new study published in the journal Pain Medicine, finds that massage may provide lasting relief for clients with chronic lower back pain.
The common research design involved treatment with standardised massage sessions…In this new research, therapists were free to design massage programs according to the patients.
The researchers recruited 104 people with persistent back pain who were referred by their doctors to licenced massage therapists. Modalities used by therapists varied ….eg. active isolated stretching, myofacial techniques, trigger point therapy, reflexology, acupressure etc….
Treatment was 10sessions over 12weeks.
After 12 weeks, more than half the patients reported improved outcomes in terms of pain reduction, and a meaningful physical and mental improvement. In addition the improvement still lasted after 24weeks. Several people improved so much that their scores on a standard screening test dropped below the threshold for disability.
While improvement was observed across the board, there were few demographic trends. Adults older than age 49 years had better pain and disability outcomes than younger adults. People with obesity tended to improve, but those gains didn’t last. People taking opioids were two times less likely to experience meaningful changes, compared to those not taking them.
The study has limitation as it doesn’t have a control. However as noted by Prof.Aaron E.Carroll from Indiana University School of Medicine; given the natural course of back pain… the ideal approach is to treat the symptoms and let the body heal. ”
Extract from an article published in Massage & Myotherapy Journal, Vol 15, issue 3