resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
February, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 02
Massage Therapy Reduces Low Back Pain
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Non-specific low back pain is one of the most common muscular-skeletal issues reported by patients/clients seeking pain relief. Massage therapy is recognized in clinical practice as an effective treatment.However, the Massage Therapy Foundation is always looking for scientific evidence to support clinical recommendations. This month's review illustrates study findings supporting the use of massage therapy to manage chronic low back pain.
A controlled trial was recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Daniel C. Cherkin and his colleagues at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, compared massage plus usual care to usual care alone in their study of participants, ages 20 to 65 years old (n=401). Study findings, "suggest that both relaxation massage and structural massage are reasonable treatment options for persons with chronic low back pain." Participants in the study received 10 weekly treatments at no cost, which consisted of either relaxation massage or structural massage, randomly assigned. Twenty-seven licensed massage practitioners, all of whom had a minimum of five years experience, received 1.5 days of protocol training and provided massage treatments. The LMPs knew which type of massage they were performing, which they did not disclose with participants. Additionally, participants were provided kinesthetic exercises to do in the home setting to help relieve their back pain between treatments.
Study findings suggest, "massage therapy improved function and decreased pain more than usual care in patients with uncomplicated chronic lower back pain [LBP] after 10 weeks." The participants who received massage in addition to usual care reported significantly lower Roland Disability Quotient scores (p=<0.001) and symptom bothersomeness scores (p=<0.001). The beneficial effects of massage lasted at twenty-six weeks (p=0.007) and fifty-two weeks (p=0.049) when measured by the Roland Disability Quotient. Symptom bothersomeness was only significantly reduced at the end of the ten-week trial. The authors note that "massage recipients were more likely than participants in the usual care group to experience clinically meaningful reductions" in functional limitations and low back pain symptoms.
Massage reduced self-reported medication use for LBP (p=0.006), including specifically NSAID use for LBP (p=0.027) at the end of the ten-week trial. However, the reduction in medication use did not persist by twenty-six weeks. Similarly, massage patients were able to decrease absenteeism to work or school caused by their LBP (p=0.018) at the ten-week mark, although these effects did not last either. Patients in the massage group were significantly more likely to be "pleased or delighted if LBP remained at the current level for the rest of life" at the end of the ten-week trial (p=0.007) than patients receiving usual care. In addition, massage patients were significantly more likely (p<0.001) to be "very satisfied with [their] LBP care" at ten weeks, twenty-six weeks and fifty-two weeks.
While some massage therapists are more skilled than others, the authors "found no evidence of differential effectiveness among the massage therapists." For the consumer, this implies that local massage therapists are a great choice for managing lower back pain. Also, the authors examined both relaxation and structural massage, but they "could not detect a clinically meaningful difference between the two types" of massage. This implies that structural massage - also known as neuromuscular and myofascial massage - may not be any more effective than relaxation massage at relieving nonspecific lower back pain. This is an exciting issue for future research to address.
A limitation to this study was that participants receiving only usual care were told that they were enrolling in a trial of massage therapy and received no massage therapy. In other words, they were not blinded to being in the control group. Also, these results may not be generalizable beyond the mostly-female group of mostly white individuals with nonspecific chronic low back pain. Persons with known causes of back pain, including disk herniation, were completely excluded from the study. Persons with these back issues represent a specific population and need, which may also be addressed in future research to expand on the findings of this study.
The researchers report that at this point, there's little evidence of which mechanisms explain the beneficial effects of massage. Mechanisms may be explained by therapeutic touch, relaxing environment, therapist care, increased body awareness, self-care advice, a generalized central nervous system response, local stimulation of tissue or a combination of these influencing factors. What can be clearly stated is this research provides evidence to support the therapeutic benefits of massage for managing chronic low back pain.
So what does this study contribute to the field of massage therapy? This study provides the evidence to support the clinical decision to use massage therapy to manage clients'/patients' chronic low back pain. Further, different types of massage therapy can be equally effective whether relaxation, neuromuscular and/or myofascial. Finally, because multiple therapists provided treatments, and no differences were found between therapists, findings indicate specialized skill is not necessary to provide clients/patients with effective treatments to manage symptoms of low back pain. Further, the authors of this study provide massage protocols for applying massage for low back pain, so these study results can be replicated in practice. Want to incorporate these proven techniques into your massage practice? The exact study protocols are available free online at www.trialsjournal.com/content/10/1/96.
Click here for more information about Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor.
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