The value of popular forms of alternative and complimentary health care for lower back pain are uncertain. Most of the information which promotes one form of treatment or another is anecdotal and has not been studied scientifically. What makes any study of lower back pain treatment additionally complicated is the tremendous variability in the cause of the back pain itself. Nonetheless, there have been some studies trying to compare various forms of treatment to determine which are most effective.
A recent study comparing therapeutic massage for the treatment of lower back pain found that it is more effective than acupuncture or self care education.
262 patients were studied who experienced persistent lower back pain. They were subjected to traditional Chinese medical acupuncture, therapeutic massage or self care education materials. The study found that traditional Chinese medical acupuncture was relatively ineffective and did not compare at all with therapeutic massage or self care education.
Persistent lower back pain at any age should be carefully evaluated by a medical professional to determine whether there is a serious underlying cause to the pain, such as infection or malignancy. Most causes of lower back pain are from strain, overuse or benign wear and tear process. To assume, however, that there is no serious cause could be making a drastic mistake. If diagnosis of a serious condition is delayed, it could cost the patient his or her life.
Alternative treatment for chronic back pain can be effective and therapeutic massage seems to have a very positive role to play in this treatment. Massage therapy is a way to increase circulation to soft tissue areas. Not all massage therapy is the same. There are different techniques depending on the goal. Therapeutic massage licenced specialists have increased in recent years and would be an option of treatment if a patient were to attempt to try to obtain relief in that way. While such a person is not on our staff, we would be happy to try to put any interested person in touch with a licensed massage therapist.