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
Patients struggling with chronic pain have a new treatment option. Chiropractor Dr. Kirby Gengler announced that massage therapy has helped hundreds of his patients regain a full range of movement in the body, while easing chronic pain and promoting internal healing.
“Massage is one tool we use to help patients enjoy immediate back pain relief,” said Dr. Gengler. “This natural treatment helps patients by stimulating internal healing. Massaging the skin stimulates the flow of oxygenated blood, which flushes out these toxins and helps the body heal.”
“During a treatment session, important physiological changes occur inside a patient’s body,” said Dr. Gengler. “Blood pressure and heart rate decrease, helping patients to relax. At the same time, the level of cortisol — a stress hormone also associated with weight increase — drops. In its place, the levels of endorphins, a natural ‘feel-good’ hormone, increase. Patients leave our therapy sessions feeling relaxed, calm and centered. Whether a patient is coping with pain or stress, a treatment session helps the mind clear out clutter and refocus.”
According to Dr. Gengler, treatments like deep tissue massage are also important for releasing tightly-locked muscles. “After an accident injury, muscles may be strained, torn or pulled,” said Dr. Gengler. “The body may cope with this injury by shifting movement to other parts of the body. This can cause muscles to become rigid or stiff, losing flexibility. Deep muscle massage unlocks pain trapped deep inside the fascia, providing relief for chronic back pain and other injuries.”
by Thrive Chiropractic