Massage for Chronic Low Back Pain & Sciatica


Individuals with persistent low back pain can choose from a variety of proven nonsurgical treatments, including: medications, physical therapy, and exercise, to name a few. A 2017 study discussed another therapy for chronic low back pain and sciatica: massage.

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers used a real world” strategy that was “ compared to running the study in a managed setting.

More than 50 percent of the research participants reported, “clinically purposeful development” in their low back pain after their massage therapy plan, composed co-first authors William G. Elder, PhD, Family and Community Medicine at the University of Kentucky, and Niki Munk, PhD, LMT, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“Clinical massage therapy appears to be effective for low back pain, and patients should discuss with their provider and consider clinical massage therapy before attempting highly debatable opioid drugs,” says Dr. Elder, who was the lead researcher of the study.

A Closer Look in the Study

The research team collaborated with primary care providers in Kentucky who referred patients for 10 massage sessions with licensed massage therapists in the community over a 12-week interval. The massage therapists crafted exceptional massage therapy recommendations on the foundation of the specific patient’s requirements.

The participants were measured before they began their massage program, in the close of the 12-week program, then at 24 weeks after the onset of system. At 12 weeks, 54.1 percent shown clinically significant development in their long-term low back pain. At 24 weeks, their development was kept by 75 percent of patients who demonstrated improvement at 12 weeks.

Some crucial insights related to drug regimen, and patients’ age, weight were found by the researchers: Adults age 50 and over were more prone to possess significant progress inside their particular long-term low back pain as an outcome of massage therapy. The advantage didn’t hold, although heavy patients had great results from massage.

Patients who reported taking opioid pain drugs did report reduced pain as a result of the massage treatment, but they were two times not likely to have clinically significant change in comparison to patients not taking opioids.

While Dr. Munk, who is a licensed massage therapist, says she expected the patients to have favorable results from the course of massage treatment, some facets of the study results surprised her.

“I was a bit surprised the baby boomer generation was more likely to have better results,” Dr. Munk says.

Dr. Munk hypothesizes that old people may have a distinct perspective on pain tolerance. Since elderly individuals likely have had more time including every one of the state she also wonders if folks that are older might be more accustomed to living with pain and had heightened perceptions of pain alleviation.

Massage Drawbacks and Expectations

While the study suggests that massage could offer individuals with chronic low back pain with pain relief that is purposeful, it truly is not a fast repair. Dr. Munk says people should level-confirm their expectations by taking into consideration how long they’ve lived with their state when they go to their first massage.

“If you’ve had a state for 10-15 years, the chance that a one-hour session will fix it is probably not realistic,” Dr. Munk says.

Dr. Munk notes that massage, given its foundation as a muscle treatment, should be viewed as a care therapy—not a short term strategy.

The body goes back to routines its used to and has, and also “Muscle patterns grow to be retrained she says. “ you also must take another dose for alleviation, and Like a pill that wears off after a couple of hours, it could take several sessions to get the job to ‘hold.’”

Another consideration patients must understand is the cost of massage, as the treatment isn’t covered by most health insurance plans. Investing in massage is an individual decision that requires weighing pros and cons. If massage therapy can help you manage your chronic back pain without the significance of spinal column surgery or other treatments which can be more significant, you might find it’s worth the out of pocket price.

Tips on Making Massage Effective

In case your doctor recommends massage therapy, building a trusting and comfortable therapeutic relationship is significant. Request your doctor if he or she recommend a massage therapist in the locality.

Dr. Elder and Dr. Munk additionally propose asking the following questions to any prospective massage therapist before your first session:

  • Have you ever been a licensed massage therapist?
  • What kind of training and education have you ever received?
  • How long are you now practicing?
  • Would you work with other healthcare professionals?
  • Have you had further education in other illness-specific areas (like back and neck pain)?
  • Do you remain current on any specific medical conditions you focus on and improvement in the massage therapy field?

Persistent low back pain can take a crucial cost on your own own life. By good fortune, many nonsurgical treatments can help you manage the pain. The results with this particular study suggest massage is a legitimate decision to lessen pain while you could possibly believe massage is only a relaxing indulgence. Request your doctor if massage is a treatment worth investigating for the specified state.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez

Additional Topics: Lower Back Pain After Auto Injury

After being involved in an automobile accident, neck injuries and aggravated conditions, such as whiplash, are some of the most commonly reported types of injuries, due to the force of the impact. A study discovered, however, that the seat of a vehicle can often lead to injuries as well, causing lower back pain and other symptoms. Lower back pain is also among one of the most common types of automobile accident injuries in the U.S. alone.






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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Massage for Chronic Low Back Pain & Sciatica" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


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