Lower back pain is the leading cause of job disability in the world. About one in ten people have it, and for many who develop back pain, the condition becomes chronic.
To see how people in the real world respond to massage, researchers looked at 104 people with persistent back pain who were referred by their doctors to licensed massage therapists. They went to 10 sessions over 12 weeks, and the practitioners were free to design massage programs that were individual to the patients, rather than all using the same technique.
At the end of the study, most people completed a questionnaire, and more than 50% reported clinically meaningful improvement in their back pain. Several people improved so much that their scores on a standard screening test dropped below the threshold for disability, says lead author Niki Munk, an assistant professor of heath sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. (Munk, who is also a licensed massage therapist, conducted the research while at the University of Kentucky.)
Read the rest here.