Lower back pain is one of the most common health complaints (exacerbated, no doubt, by sitting in office chairs for hours on end). A recent study suggests massage therapy may provide pain relief and improve functioning even more than medication can.Photo: Shutterstock
The study showed modest improvements for adults who received either weekly whole-body massages for relaxation or more focused massages that treated specific muscle problems compared to a third group of adults who received over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen.
For some of the patients, though, massage made a big difference in treating their lower back pain:
At the end of the 10-week intervention, 36% and 39% of patients in the massage groups said their pain was nearly or completely gone, compared to 4% in the usual care group.
While researchers are not saying massage is a cure or even a slam dunk for back pain, it is definitely a useful treatment option that can help patients improve and perhaps ease out of the pain-inactivity cycle. So if back pain is bothering you, that's just one more reason to treat yourself to a (cheap) massage.