Massage Relieves Chronic Back Pain

Study Finds Effectiveness

Valua Vitaly/

Researchers from Indiana University-Purdue University, in Indianapolis, set out to find out if massage therapy—typically an out-of-pocket expense not covered under most insurance plans—can provide effective treatment for individuals suffering with chronic back pain.

The study followed 76 primary care patients with chronic back pain for 24 weeks. The researchers measured pain, disability and quality of life at the beginning of the study, after 12 weeks and again after 24 weeks of massage therapy. Each patient was referred to a licensed massage therapist for 10 no-cost sessions in a real-world environment during the initial 12 weeks.

More than half of the patients that completed the core study reported clinically meaningful improvements for physical and mental measures. For bodily pain, 40 percent were clinically improved. Older adults and Baby Boomers reported the highest percentage of changes. Plus, the study found that sufferers that avoided taking painkillers were twice as likely to experience reduced pain than those using opioids.

This article appears in the August 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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