Massage Beats Meds for Back Pain

A Drug-free Approach

A new study conducted by the Group Health Research Institute of Seattle suggests that massage therapy may be better than conventional medicine alone for easing lower back pain.  Researchers recruited 401 patients with chronic back pain and found that those receiving a series of either relaxation or structural  massage spent fewer days in bed and were more active than those receiving “usual medical care,” ranging from painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants to physical therapy.

Lead study author Daniel Cherkin, director of the institute, concluded: “If you’re having continuing problems with back pain, even after trying usual medical care, massage may be a good thing to do. I think the results are pretty strong.”

Funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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