A new study published in Pain Medicine reaffirms that massage can provide lasting relief for chronic low-back pain.
Subjects in the study received 10 massage sessions with licensed massage therapists. Therapists were free to design massage protocols that were individual to each patient, rather than all using the same technique. Results were measured using questionnaires.
More than 50 percent of the subjects reported clinically meaningful improvement in their back pain, and several subjects improved so much that their scores on a standard screening test dropped below the threshold for disability.
Three months following the study, with no further massage sessions, 75 percent of the people who reported initial improvement said they still felt better.
Lead study author Niki Munk, assistant professor of health sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, says the study included a diverse group of patients and reflected real-life health-care situations.
The researchers conclude: “Results provide a meaningful signal of massage effect for primary care patients with chronic low back pain and call for further research in practice settings using pragmatic designs with control groups.”