Lower back pain is one of the biggest reasons that people all over the world (not just here in Australia) people seek medical attention for both the emergency variety and regular visits to the doctor. It puts thousands if not millions of people out of work and yet it seems to be one of the hardest things to treat effectively with traditional medical techniques.
Another growing problem all over the world is the overuse and abuse of over the counter and prescription pain medicines, yet all too often these are the only things offered to patients whose everyday life is being impacted and limited by chronic lower back pain. Many people though who have given it a try have learned that regular massage can really help reduce their pain, increase their range of mobility and simply make their everyday life more like it used to be before the back pain struck.
Last year though the results of a large research project conducted in the US began to cause more people than ever, including doctors, to take a more serious look at the very real benefits that massage has to offer those who suffer from chronic lower back pain far more seriously than ever before AR10 80.
The study, which was conducted under the guidance of the Center for Health Studies at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle in the USA, enlisted 400 people from all over the country who had suffered from and were being treated in some way from various forms of chronic lower back pain for three months or more.
The patients were split into three groups. One group received weekly full body relaxation massages, the second received weekly deep tissue massages that focused on specific muscle problems around the lower back and hips and the third group was instructed to carry on as usual, whether that meant trying to relieve their pain through medication, undergoing traditional physical therapy or just doing nothing.
After a 10 week period both massage groups reported modest to very good improvements in a number of areas. On average patients in the massage groups reported at least a 2 point improvement on the commonly used 10 point pain scale, which although not “huge” is better than the average results achieved with anti inflammatory and pain medications.
For some of the study participants though, the benefits they gained were even greater. For example 36% of the patients in the relaxation massage group and 39% of the patients in the deep tissue massage group actually reported to the researchers that their pain was almost, or even completely, resolved while only 4% in the third non massage group reported the same.
Perhaps the strangest thing about this study, and more like it that have been conducted since that show similar results, is that they are just confirming what a lot of people have known for a long time. Massage may not be a cure for back pain but it can be one of the most effective regular treatments for it, especially for people who have been taking every pill that their doctor prescribed and still living with pain every day.