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Massage for Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a concern that plagues many people. Some blame core instability and weakness others put it down to degeneration but what does the academic literature say and what does it say about the effects of remedial massage on treating the problem?

The International Journal of Neuroscience evaluated the effects of massage therapy versus relaxation for chronic low back pain. They wanted to find out if remedial massage was effective in reducing pain, depression, anxiety and stress hormones, as well as sleeplessness and for improving trunk range of motion associated with chronic low back pain.
The trial took twenty-four adults (12 women) with lower back pain. They were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or a progressive muscle relaxation group. The Sessions were 30 minutes long twice a week for five weeks, then on the first and last day of the 5-week study participants completed questionnaires, provided a urine sample and were assessed for range of motion.
By the end of the study, the massage therapy group, as compared to the relaxation group, reported experiencing less pain, depression, anxiety and improved sleep. They also showed improved trunk and pain flexion performance, and their serotonin and dopamine levels were higher, thus highlighting the positive effects of massage therapy in reducing pain, stress hormones and symptoms associated with chronic low back pain.

Preyde (2001), performed a similar trial on 107 subjects. He concluded that the massage therapy group had improved function, less intense pain and a decrease in the quality of pain. Additionally, he found that at 1-month follow-up 63% of subjects in the comprehensive massage therapy group reported no pain as compared with 27% of the soft-tissue manipulation group, 14% of the remedial exercise group and 0% of the sham laser therapy group.

It’s obvious that patients with subacute low-back pain are shown to benefit from massage therapy, so why put up with it any longer? See your remedial massage therapist today at one of our No More Knots clinics!

1. Maria Hernandez-reif, Tiffany Field, Josh Krasnegor, and Hillary Theakston International Journal of Neuroscience. Vol. 106 , Iss. 3-4, 2001

2. Michele Preyde, CMAJ.  Vol. 162  no. 13  1815-1820, 2001


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