Rx For Aching Back: Massage Helps Pain, Study Finds

Study: Massage is an effective treatment for back pain (Photo: The Exo Guy/flickr)

My mother used to have a very large Russian woman come to her house every week and, for $15, give her a massage. No aromatherapy, no hot sacred stones or scented candles — just a 180-pound woman with strong hands and a lot of soul. Mom said it was better than any drug, and indeed, at 75, my mother takes no medications and is in excellent health.

Now a new study in The Archives of Internal Medicine discloses what those of us who rely on massage for health already know: it’s really, really good for back pain. For some people, the benefits of massage for lower back pain lasted up to six months. All Things Considered reports:

After 10 weeks, the results were dramatic: Nearly two-thirds of the patients who received either type of weekly massage said their back pain was significantly improved or gone altogether. Only about one-third of patients receiving the usual care experienced similar relief.

Here’s what one patient in her 60s told NPR about her experience in the massage study:

Peggy O’Brien-Murphy was among the study participants. In her late 60s, a retired state employee, O’Brien Murphy tried just about everything to get rid of the pain in her lower back. The massage therapy finally seemed to do the trick.

“I’m so very lucky,” she says. Continue reading