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Massage Therapy To Ease Chronic Back Pain

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows massage therapy may help sufferers from chronic back pain

In the study, 401 people were randomly assigned to either usual care or to massage therapy.

After 10 weeks, patients who received weekly massage sessions used less pain medicine and spent less time in bed than those not receiving any special care — However, some of the apparent benefits of massage vanished after six months and had disappeared completely after a year. The study concluded that although massages give short-term relief, they cannot be relied on for long-term results.

“If we look at patients who seemed to have some substantial improvement, that was about two-thirds in the massage group compared to about one-third among patients getting usual care,” said Dr. Richard A. Deyo of the Oregon Health and Science University, who worked on the study.

He cautioned that patients in the study knew which kind of treatment they got, so it’s possible that some were disappointed that they didn’t get massages — which may have affected the results.

Ultimately, lifestyle changes may be the best treatment. “Many of us believe that for truly chronic pain problems, exercise programmes are actually one of the mainstay treatments that will help people function better on a daily basis,” Deyo added.

The research was led by Daniel Cherkin at the Health Research was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The full study can be found here:

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