In The News: Massage Found To Help Relieve Lower Back Pain

Reader Contribution by Justine Patton
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Spa goers don’t have to feel guilty about dropping a few extra dollars on those relaxing back massages anymore, a new study has found.

The study, which appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine, studied 401 people with low back pain with an unknown cause that lasted more than three months. The participants of the study were separated into three groups. The first group received relaxation massage, the most common form of massage in the United States. The second group received structural massage, which uses specific maneuvers to restore healthy functioning of the muscular and nervous systems. The third group received the usual medical treatment for low back pain, which consists of painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants. The individuals in the massage groups received one hour of massage a week for 10 weeks.

At the end of the study, the 18 million adults in the United States who receive a massage each year were met with promising results.

Participants in the two massage groups were better able to go about their regular activities and reported less back pain after the 10 weeks of massage therapy than those who had received usual care. It is not known whether relaxation massage or structural massage is more beneficial.

A new study adds low back pain relief to the list of massage therapy benefits.
Photo by FoundryParkInn/Courtesy

This isn’t the first study in recent years that has shown massage as more than a tool for relaxation. Praise just keeps coming for one of the world’s oldest healing arts.

Studies have also shown that the physical contact you receive from your therapist when you get a massage can trigger a boost in serotonin, a natural anti-depressant that can help manage anxiety and depression. Massage is cited as a stress reliever by many health associations.

And that’s not all. Many studies have shown that other types of pain, such as chronic neck pain and migraines, respond well to massage therapy as well. Massage can reduce the number of migraines a person has per year and also helps promote a good night’s sleep.

Athletes can also benefit from massage when treating sports-related injuries, since the stimulation of muscles, tendons and ligaments helps treat general pain and stiffness in the body.

What’s more, some health insurers are even starting to consider massage a form of preventative care, meaning your insurance company may help you pay for your next visit to the spa. Contact your insurance company for more information. 

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