To Your Health
February, 2012 (Vol. 06, Issue 02)
Massage the Pain Away
For many people, the thought of getting a massage often times sounds like a luxury, but recent studies continue to show a massage is one of the best ways to help anyone overcome back pain.
Massage along with chiropractic care is essential for a healthy back. A recent study showed that massage not only helped people feel better, but also seemed to help cells recover by boosting amounts of another protein called PGC-1alpha, which spurs production of new mitochondria — tiny organelles inside cells that are crucial for muscle energy generation and adaptation to endurance exercise.
Another study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Daniel C. Cherkin and his colleagues at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, compared massage plus usual care to usual care alone in their study of participants, ages 20 to 65 years old (n=401). Study findings; "suggest that both relaxation massage and structural massage are reasonable treatment options for persons with chronic low back pain." Participants in the study received 10 weekly treatments at no cost, which consisted of either relaxation massage or structural massage, randomly assigned. Twenty-seven licensed massage practitioners, all of whom had a minimum of five years experience, received 1.5 days of protocol training and provided massage treatments. The LMPs knew which type of massage they were performing, which they did not disclose with participants. Additionally, participants were provided kinesthetic exercises to do in the home setting to help relieve their back pain between treatments.
Study findings suggest, "massage therapy improved function and decreased pain more than usual care in patients with uncomplicated chronic lower back pain [LBP] after 10 weeks." The participants who received massage in addition to usual care reported significantly lower Roland Disability Quotient scores (p=<0.001) and symptom bothersomeness scores (p=<0.001). The beneficial effects of massage lasted at twenty-six weeks (p=0.007) and fifty-two weeks (p=0.049) when measured by the Roland Disability Quotient. Symptom bothersomeness was only significantly reduced at the end of the ten-week trial. The authors note that "massage recipients were more likely than participants in the usual care group to experience clinically meaningful reductions" in functional limitations and low back pain symptoms.
If back pain is an issue for you, check with your chiropractor about massage therapy. Many chiropractors offer massage therapy in their practice.