Research confirms that some forms of massage help against low-back pain

March 26, 2010

Most people have experienced back pain - and many hope that massage will relieve it. But not all forms of massage have been scientifically proven to help against low back pain.

That is what the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in (IQWiG) pointed out in information published on today.

Back pain often affects the lower back and can be a big physical and psychological burden. "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.

Classic massage, Thai massage and acupressure could help against low back pain

If low back pain does not get better on its own, could be a worthwhile option. "Research suggests that classic massage, Thai massage and acupressure can relieve that has lasted longer than several weeks," says the Institute's Director. 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 relying on massage alone does not appear to be the best approach when it comes to back pain", adds Sawicki. Research indicates that people could benefit more if they combine massages with exercises and stretching. In some trials this combination of approaches led to better pain relief and mobility compared to massage alone.

"Not all forms of massage have been scientifically proven to help against chronic back though," concludes Sawicki. "So it is worth finding out about the different techniques before deciding to have a certain type of massage."

An overview of the most common forms of is now available on

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Some breastfeeding advice worth ditching: US task force

October 25, 2016

A review of scientific evidence on breastfeeding out Tuesday found that some long-held advice is worth ditching, including that babies should avoid pacifiers and moms should breastfeed exclusively in the first days after ...

Sleep loss tied to changes of the gut microbiota in humans

October 25, 2016

Results from a new clinical study conducted at Uppsala University suggest that curtailing sleep alters the abundance of bacterial gut species that have previously been linked to compromised human metabolic health. The new ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 26, 2010
the best lower back main massage is self administered.
it can be accomplished by rolling on a hard foam or high pressure inflatable 6 to 8 inch ball.

it is sometimes refered to as 'body rolling'

this can and should be supplemented by self administered trigger point massage using a hooked cane for massaging ones back. theracane is a common product used for this purpose.
not rated yet Mar 27, 2010

I found the best relief is from marijuana!! A couple hits of good pot causes the muscles to relax giving very good pain relief and you wake up refreshed in the morning. And as you take it, it gets more effective vs the pain pills I take that get weaker, needing ever increasing doses and addiction.

Hopefully common sense will prevail and legalize this excellent, low side effect drug.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.