Massage Is Cost-Effective Treatment for Back Pain
suffer from persistent back pain often turn to complementary
medicine when conventional treatments fail. A review of the effectiveness
of several complementary treatments for chronic back pain found
massage and spinal manipulation to be modestly effective, while
the benefits of acupuncture were unclear.
This study reexamined
the results of 49 randomized, controlled trials that evaluated
massage, spinal manipulation, or acupuncture.
The trials that
looked at massage found that it was an effective treatment for
chronic back pain. The trials that evaluated spinal
manipulation found “real, but modest” benefits that
were similar in magnitude to other, more traditional treatments
for chronic back pain. By contrast, although acupuncture appeared
to be slightly more effective than no treatment or sham treatment,
the quality of the studies was not high enough to draw firm conclusions.
researchers concluded that all the complementary medicine therapies
evaluated in the study are relatively safe, but massage
therapy is the most cost-effective.
Annals of Internal Medicine
Volume 138, page 898
June 3, 2003