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April 17, 2008

Massage For Low-Back Pain Meta-Analysis

While I was reading articles to answer a research question for school, I came across an interesting physiological explanation for how massage therapy works on the body. Following is excerpted from meta-analysis on the efficacy of massage for low back pain:
Furlan AD, Brosseau L, Imamura M, Irvin E. Massage for low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2002, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD001929. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001929.

Soft tissue massage is thought to improve physiological and clinical outcomes by offering the symptomatic relief of pain through physical and mental relaxation, and increasing the pain threshold thought the release of endorphins. The gate-control theory predicts that massaging a particular area stimulates large diameter nerve fibers. These fibers have an inhibitory input onto T-cells (which, within the spinal cord are the first cells that project into the central nervous system). T-cell activity is depressed (whereas, conversely, small diameter nerve fibers [nociceptive fibers] have an excitatory input) and pain relief follows.

Unfortunately, if you want a full copy of this article, you'll have to pay for it on the Cochrane Database.

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Posted by linda at April 17, 2008 8:02 AM

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