The most common mainstream treatment for low back pain is prescription painkillers.
But not only are these drugs causing the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic…there’s no good evidence they actually work.1 2
That leaves millions of Americans looking for safer, more effective alternatives. A first-of-its-kind study shows that one of the world’s oldest forms of healing, massage therapy, can provide natural relief.
Previous studies of massage to treat back pain were conducted in controlled research situations. The new study is different. It tested massage in real-life settings.
Patients were referred by a physician to a massage therapist. The therapist administered 10 massages to each subject.
A total of 104 patients were enrolled in the study. Researchers from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of Kentucky followed the subjects for 24 weeks.3
More than half the participants experienced clinically meaningful improvements in their low back pain, according to Professor Niki Munk.
She is one of the authors of the study and an assistant professor with the Indiana University School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences.
Baby boomers and older patients were the most likely to get pain relief. But younger patients benefited, too. The study was published in the journal Pain Medicine.4
The study’s findings are important, given the large number of people who suffer low back pain in the U.S., said Professor Munk.
About 15% of Americans have chronic back pain. Low back pain is the nation’s number one cause of disability.
Study: Massage Eases Back Pain
Doctors often prescribe opioid painkillers such as OxyContin or Percocet. But they are among the world’s most dangerous drugs. They carry a high risk of addiction, overdose, and other serious side effects.
“The study can give primary care providers the confidence to tell patients with chronic low back pain to try massage,” Professor Munk said.5
Choosing the right licensed massage therapist is crucial, she said. It’s best to find someone with experience healing low back pain. And you want to make sure they are a licensed massage therapist (LMT).
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) is the largest non-profit professional association. Its website can help you can find licensed massage therapists in your area.
Editor’s Note: There are other drug-free ways to reduce pain.
Discover the ocean oil that one study found cut inflammation in half after one month… The desert herb that may replace pain prescriptions for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis… And the “magic” formula—with just three ingredients—that helped almost 70% of patients become pain-free in three months.
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