Sunday, April 25, 2010

Massage, Stretching and Exercise Best for Persistent Low Back Pain

Scientists from the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) suggest that a combination of certain types of massage, combined with exercise and stretching, may be the most effective way to treat low back pain that fails to get better on its own. Not all forms of massage work for low back pain relief, but not all forms have been proven to be helpful.

“The cause of back pain is not always immediately clear," explains Professor Peter Sawicki, the Institute's Director. "But low back pain usually gets better on its own within a few weeks." Back pain is only rarely caused by a more serious health problem.”

Types of massage shown to relieve back pain include classic massage, Thai massage, and acupressure. “In classic (Swedish) massage the affected area of skin and muscles are massaged, in Thai massage the limbs are pulled and stretched, and acupressure involves applying pressure to certain points on the body”, but Sawicki warns that relying on massage alone may not be the most effective way to deal with persistent low back pain.

Compared to massage alone, a combination of exercise and stretching seems to be the best way to improve mobility and reduce low back pain.

Because not all forms of massage are the same, Sawicki recommends learning which techniques are most effective for low back pain before making a choice. "So it is worth finding out about the different techniques before deciding to have a certain type of massage."

Types of Massage for Low Back Pain

Exercise to Reduce Low Back Pain