Back Pain and Massage

Back Pain and Massage

Medical experts surmise that back pain has bedeviled humans ever since we started walking on two feet, says Richard Deyo, M.D., a professor of evidence-based medicine at Oregon Health and Science University and an author of the main scientific review that led to the new ACP guidelines.

Tons of research has been conducted on back pain and methods of relief. Surprisingly more and more findings show that massage can have better outcomes for some people than surgery or medication and they are much safer with fewer side effects.

n February the American College of Physicians—which represents primary care doctors, the providers people consult most often for a backache—issued new guidelines for back-pain treatment, saying that the first line of defense should be nondrug measures.

That advice is backed up by a new nationally representative Consumer Reports survey of 3,562 back-pain sufferers. It found that more than 80 percent of those who had tried yoga or tai chi or had seen a massage therapist or chiropractor said it had helped them.

It appears that  a higher percentage of people in the survey who saw a yoga or tai chi instructor, massage therapist, chiropractor, or physical therapist said the advice or treatment was helpful, compared with those who said they saw a doctor.

But here’s the problem: People also told us that their insurers were far more likely to cover visits to doctors than those for nondrug treatments—and that they would have gone for more of that kind of treatment if it had been covered by their health insurance. So what works is out of reach and so that gets us back to opioids- because THOSE are covered by insurance.

However, if it is in your budget, try regular massage and see if it helps.


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