Can Massage Help Low Back Pain?

It’s happened to many of us. You wake up one morning and can barely get out of bed because of back pain. We think back to the previous day – did we lift something heavy, grab a box from the top shelf of a closet, pull too many weeds in the garden? Maybe it was the way we slept, an awkward position or a cool breeze from an open window. Whatever the reason, the back is sore and the body stiff.

A call to the doctor may result in being told to rest, take a muscle relaxant or to use a heating pad. While they may or may not help, keep in mind that a primary care physician sees all kinds of ailments, and back pain is in there with colds, flu, diabetes, heart problems and more. Perhaps it is time to call a massage therapist.

Back pain is at the top of the list when it comes to clients seeking help through massage. When you seek out a licensed massage therapist you are getting the benefit of someone who has been educated specifically on the anatomy and physiology of muscles and how the body responds to massage.

A study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine in July, 2011 showed that participants who received 10 sessions of massage therapy for chronic back pain had relief for six months or more. The study consisted of more than 400 individuals with about one-third each receiving either Swedish massage, structural massage (myofascial or neuromuscular techniques) or no massage. Those receiving no massage continued with their usual treatments. Both types of massage showed relief for the extended time, while those using the usual treatment had little or no improvement.

If your back is aching, and other more serious disorders can be ruled out, make that phone call to your local massage therapist and start on the road to recovery from pain.


Cherkin, Daniel C, Ph. D., et al. “A Comparison of the Effects of 2 Types of Massage and Usual Care on Chronic Low Back Pain.” Annals of Internal Medicine. 155.1 (2011): 1-9. Print.