According to the New York Times, a study found that patients with lower back pain had a lower pain score after receiving massages, and did not have to depend on medication and other therapies as much as the control group.
The research conducted by epidemiologist Daniel C. Cherkin, evaluated 401 patients who had moderately severe back pain from strain and sprains. Most of the patients had the pain for over a year and they had no other health conditions.
The subjects had an average age of 46: about two-thirds of them were women. They were divided into three groups and tested for 10 weeks. One group received full body relaxation massages to ease lower back pain. Another group received structural massages that focused on the musculoskeletal system. The last group served as a control group and did not receive a massage.
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The results demonstrated that after the 10 weeks, all three groups showed some improvement in performing routine exercises, however, those who received massages scored better on the symptom and function test. After 26 weeks and 52 weeks of treatment, there was no significant improvement or difference in the pain score amongst all three groups.
This is study is puzzling and leaves a number of questions unanswered. More studies must be conducted in order to collect any conclusive data. According to this study, massages may only be a short-term solution to lower back pain.
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