According to studies, eighty percent of adults will experience low back pain at some point during their lifetime. It is also the foremost reason that people seek out medical attention in the U.S. The typical treatment approaches include pain pills, surgery, and spinal injections. These options all come with their own set of problems. Injections can cause headaches, and nausea, and can wear off in a matter of hours. Painkillers have a high risk of addiction and overdose. According to the Centers for Disease Control, forty people a day die from a prescription pain pill overdose. Then there is surgery, with the understanding that every person and their pain is different, many people claim their surgery caused more pain in the long run, or that it did not do anything to help the initial pain.
Massage has been introduced as a viable substitute for traditional medical approaches for low back pain. Many healthcare providers are beginning to recognize massage as a legitimate form of treatment for low back pain. In fact, studies show about fifty-four percent of healthcare providers suggest that their patients seek out a massage therapist in addition to other treatments for their pain.
The Group Health Research Institute, along with several prestigious universities, did a study about massage and treating low back pain. Of 400 participants, half received traditional treatment and the other half received their treatment along with an hour of massage every week. After ten weeks, the group that received massage reported:
*An ability to perform their daily activities better
*Used significantly less medication
*Were much more active
Not only did they have these immediate benefits, but the patients reported feeling the positive effects of their massage treatment up to 6 months after sessions. Although many healthcare professionals consider massage as a “temporary fix”, studies show it is most likely to be very effective and unlikely to have negative side effects.
- Benzon, H. Raj’s Practical Management of Pain, Mosby, 2008.
- Canale, S. Campbell’s Operative Orthopedics, Mosby, 2008.
- American Academy of Neurology: “Assessment: Use of Epidural Steroid Injections to Treat Radicular Lumbosacral Pain.”
- Cherkin, D. Annals of Internal Medicine, July 5, 2011.
- Daniel C. Cherkin PhD, associate director and senior scientific investigator, Center for Health Studies at Group Health Cooperative, Seattle.
- Richard A. Deyo, MD, professor, department of family medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland.
- Roger Chou, MD, associate professor of medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland.
- Fredrick P. Wilson, DO, director, Cleveland Clinic Solon Center for Spine Health, Ohio.