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American College of Physicians Recommends Massage for Low Back Pain

Massage therapy, as well as therapies such as yoga and exercise, is recommended for low back pain, according to new guidelines from the American College of Physicians. The guidelines analyzed more than 150 studies on low back pain treatments, and nonpharmacological approaches such as massage therapy are preferred.

NPR and other media outlets reported the findings and encouraged people to use massage therapy and other nonpharmacologic treatments for low back pain, one of the most common neurological ailments in the United States.

The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) supports the use of massage therapy for painful conditions, including low back pain. Research suggests that massage therapy can positively impact those dealing with low back pain and other types of pain.

Related: Lower Back Pain & Massage | 2.5 Credit Hours

AMTA Position Statment: Massage Therapy Can Be Effective for Low Back Pain

Research has shown that massage can:

  • decrease low back pain 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 
  • decrease disability associated with low back pain 2,3, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • demonstrates decreased pain and disability over time 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8
  • decrease anxiety/depression associated with low back pain 4, 5, 7, 9

Read the full position statement »

Massage & Pain Reserach

Pain is multi-dimensional and may be better addressed through an integrative approach. This systematic review and meta-analysis is the first to rigorously assess the quality of massage therapy research and evidence for its efficacy in treating pain.

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Kelly L., AMTA member since 2010

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AMTA has long been the leading choice among massage therapists looking to establish themselves within the profession. We provide our members with the strongest benefits and promote massage therapy to the public and health care community.

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