A growing number of scientific studies suggest that massage therapy can provide meaningful relief for chronic lower back pain, which afflicts more than 26 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
And adults over 50 are the most likely to benefit from regular back massage, according to groundbreaking research at the University of Kentucky, published in the journal Pain Medicine.
Researchers followed 104 patients who had consulted their primary care providers about back pain lasting three months or more, defined as chronic. More than half reported significantly less pain after 10 one-hour massage therapy sessions — rising to 70 percent among those 50 or older. Most still showed improvement six months later.
Many doctors have traditionally prescribed opioids, which can be highly addictive, for persistent back pain. But rising concerns about the current epidemic of opioid addiction have encouraged a search for safe, effective alternatives, including massage.
The American College of Physicians, which represents primary-care doctors, recently revised its clinical guidelines to recommend non-drug treatments such as massage, spinal manipulation and acupuncture as the first response to persistent lower back pain.
Orthopedic surgeons are also “very focused” on properly controlling pain prescriptions, says Dr. Alan Hilibrand, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and professor of orthopedic surgery at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He sees “significant short-term benefit” in massage for chronic back pain.
by Lynn Langway
Massage therapy is relatively safe, with infrequent adverse events, and is more efficacious than other active treatments for treating pain and anxiety in surgical populations, according to research published in Pain Medicine.
Courtney Boyd, MA, from the Samueli Institute in Alexandria, Virginia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the efficacy of massage therapy in treating pain, function-related, and health-related quality of life outcomes in surgical pain populations. […]
A total of 12 high-quality and 4 low-quality studies were included in the review. […] Most studies focused on massage’s effect on pain, sleep, stress, mood, and health-related quality of life outcomes in patients regarding postoperative pain or in those who were undergoing or recovering from procedures such as amniocentesis, cardiac surgery, hip or knee arthroplasty, craniofacial surgery, cesarean delivery, laparoscopic sterilization, and port placement. Massage sessions varied from one 10-minute session to 12 daily 10-minute sessions for 6 days; 66.8% of participants were male, with a mean age of 49.8 years.
The researchers found that massage therapy was effective for treating pain (standardized mean difference [SMD], −0.79) and anxiety (SMD, −0.57), compared with the active comparators.
“Massage therapy appears to be efficacious for reducing pain and anxiety in patients who are either about to undergo or are recovering from surgical procedures,” stated the researchers. […]
by Colby Stong, Editor at Clinical Advisor
[…] While often thought of as a disease that afflicts the elderly, arthritis affects people in all age ranges – and some 53 million Americans suffer from it in one way or another.
There are various signs and symptoms, but the standout is pain: arthritis hurts!
While there is no known cure for arthritis, we do know that massage can help. According to research published by the Massage Therapy Foundation, here are some of the ways massage can benefit someone who has arthritis:
- Reduce pain.
- Improve strength.
- Improve mobility, flexibility and range of motion.
- Reduce stress (and since stress exacerbates pain, this also helps in pain relief).
Many of these benefits can be felt in just a single session with a skilled practitioner, or even with self-massage. And, of course, regular, ongoing sessions with a professional massage therapist will usually yield the most powerful results.
Massage is not appropriate for every case of arthritis – it shouldn’t be done when the pain and inflammation is severely flared up, and some forms of arthritis need to be treated in different ways. Clients with arthritis are advised to speak with their doctor about receiving massage. But, generally speaking, massage can help.
All bodies are susceptible to wear and tear and the ravages of the years, but that doesn’t mean we have to patiently endure pain. Our quality of life is closely tied to how well we move, and therefore to the health of our joints.
If you or a loved one, young or old, have arthritis pain, consult your doctor and then seek the assistance of a qualified massage therapist.
by William Mathis, an instructor at the National Holistic Institute
Muscles, tendons and ligaments can be a source of a lot of pain yet they fail to show up in diagnostic tests, like x-rays.
This week on “Take Care,” Tracy Segall, the lead licensed massage therapist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, talks about the benefits of massage therapy and how it can heal those “hidden” aches and pains. […]
A medical massage or therapeutic massage focuses on areas like muscles, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments through techniques like deep tissue massages, muscle energy, stretching and neuromuscular reeducation.
From nurses who are on their feet all day to people who sit at a desk for eight hours, the average human body goes through a lot of stress. Massage therapy aims to relive the body’s stress.
“I would recommend that a person gets a massage at least once a month to help break up any types of postural issues they may have created,” Segall says.
Repetitively putting muscles through the same routine (like sitting all day) can warp their shape. The human body tends to remember certain postures and positions if done over and over again.
Segall says that a massage therapist is the solution to helping the body remember the right posture.
“A massage therapist can get in there and relieve and relax that tissue to help it remember how it is supposed to hold and support your body,” Segall says. […]
by Patrick Kenney, WRVO Public Media
A growing population of aging adults receive massage therapy as part of their integrated care to temper aches and pains, tackle chronic pain and aid in long-term care. Studies continue to show that aging and elderly individuals benefit greatly from massage therapy.
Regularly receiving massage has been shown to promote relaxation and stability while helping temper the effects of dementia, high-blood pressure and osteoarthritis. By incorporating massage into a regular healthcare regimen, many older adults find a better quality of life and additional relief from a multitude of health issues.
“The aging of both the silent and boomer generations call for an increased focus on improving and prolonging quality of life in this population,” said Nancy M. Porambo, President of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). “While integrating massage therapy into a health and wellness plan is useful for all ages, it holds particular value in the growing elder population.”
Chronic pain is generally underreported in the elderly population due to a fear of stigma and assumption that it is an unavoidable part of aging. This highly treatable issue is not being seen as a health ailment, though it has been shown to severely impact lifestyle through disruption of sleep, daily routines and social activities. Incorporation of massage therapy into care routines has been demonstrated to help treat chronic pain, particularly in joints, such as the shoulder or knee, while also improving stability and posture.
“[This study] suggests that regular massage may produce physiological changes that contribute to improved balance and postural control,” says Jo Ellen Sefton, Director of the Neuromechanics Research Laboratory at Auburn University. “This may be a way to decrease falls in older adults.”
by American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)
There are many benefits of massage therapy for individuals who live with diabetes. Most of them are similar to the benefits of massage therapy for the general population, but let’s take a look at some areas that can be emphasized advantages, which are of particular interest for diabetics.
Relaxation: I cannot emphasize enough the value of basic relaxation. Blood sugar levels that are unpredictable can put tremendous strain on the body’s systems. By calming the nervous system, massage can bring a much-needed rest and an assuring sense of well-being to the body.
Circulation: It’s been proven that massage increases the circulation of blood and lymph which helps transport oxygen and other nutrients into the body’s tissues. Massage of the hands and feet can be beneficial for diabetics because circulation is often impaired in diabetics due to the damaging effects of elevated blood sugar levels.
Myofacial Massage Effects: Massage works directly with the muscles (mio) and connective tissues (fascia). Massage techniques helps facilitate greater mobility in the body. Since diabetes causes a thickening of connective tissue because of elevated blood sugars, it is especially important for individuals to have massage therapy on a regular basis. It is normal for individuals who live with diabetes to experience stiffness in muscles, tendons, and ligaments, as well as have decreased range of motion in the joints. Hormones that cause stress also contribute to chemical changes in the connective tissue, which causes the layers of the fascia to become sticky. Range of motion and stretching during massage can help to counteract this effect and help encourage flexibility and health of the myofacial system.
Massage can give a wonderful mental boost to someone who is living with this chronic disease and also striving to balance all the factors involved in maintaining a healthy lifestyle–proper nutrition, adequate exercise, blood glucose monitoring, appropriate use of medications and stress management.
by Valecia Weeks, Houston Forward Times