Based on the evidence, massage therapy can provide significant improvement for pain, anxiety and health-related quality of life for those looking to manage their pain.
Pain is a major public health concern, affecting approximately 100 million Americans. It is currently recognized as the most compelling reason for an individual to seek medical attention, and accounts for approximately 80% of physician visits.
Not only are individuals affected, but also their families, the national economy and health systems. It is estimated that chronic pain accounts for approximately $600 billion in annual health care expenditures and lost productivity. This annual cost is greater than the cost of other national priority health conditions, highlighting the significant economic burden of pain.
Based on the evidence, massage therapy, compared to no treatment, should be strongly recommended as a pain management option. Massage therapy is conditionally recommended for reducing pain, compared to other sham or active comparators, and improving mood and health-related quality of life, compared to other active comparators.
Pain is multi-dimensional and may be better addressed through an integrative approach. Massage therapy is commonly used among people seeking pain management and research has generally supported its use.
Five Painful ConditionsMassage Therapy Can Help
1. Low-back Pain Back pain is a common neurological ailment in the U.S. Research shows that massage therapy can help decrease pain, reduce disability and lower anxiety/depression in low-back pain sufferers.
2. Fibromyalgia Studies indicate massage therapy can be a beneficial part of an integrative treatment plan for those with fibromyalgia syndrome by reducing pain, improving quality of life and decreasing anxiety, stiffness, fatigue and more.
3. Post-operative Pain Post-operative pain can complicate recovery, lengthen hospital stays and interfere with a patient's return to activities. Recent research indicates massage therapy can be effective for reducing pain intensity/severity and anxiety in patients undergoing surgical procedures.
4. Tension Headaches According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, tension-type headache is the most common type of headache. Research has shown massage therapy can decrease perceived pain, frequency, duration and intensity for those dealing with tension headaches.
5. Arthritis Research indicates that 60-minute sessions of Swedish massage once a week for those with osteoarthritis of the knee significantly reduced their pain. In addition, research shows that massage therapy can decrease pain and significantly impact some rheumatoid arthritis patient's ability to control the mobility of their limbs.