Conclusiones: El masaje terapéutico fue eficaz para el dolor lumbar persistente, aparentemente proporcionando beneficios duraderos. La acupuntura médica tradicional china fue relativamente ineficaz. El masaje puede ser una alternativa efectiva a la atención médica convencional para el dolor de espalda persistente.Randomized Trial Comparing Traditional Chinese Medical Acupuncture, Therapeutic Massage, and Self-care Education for Chronic Low Back Pain
Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD; David Eisenberg, MD; Karen J. Sherman, PhD; William Barlow, PhD; Ted J. Kaptchuk, OMD; Janet Street, RN, MN, PNP; Richard A. Deyo, MD, MPH
Arch Intern Med. 2001;161:1081-1088.
Background Because the value of popular forms of alternative care for chronic back pain remains uncertain, we compared the effectiveness of acupuncture, therapeutic massage, and self-care education for persistent back pain.
Methods We randomized 262 patients aged 20 to 70 years who had persistent back pain to receive Traditional Chinese Medical acupuncture (n = 94), therapeutic massage (n = 78), or self-care educational materials (n = 90). Up to 10 massage or acupuncture visits were permitted over 10 weeks. Symptoms (0-10 scale) and dysfunction (0-23 scale) were assessed by telephone interviewers masked to treatment group. Follow-up was available for 95% of patients after 4, 10, and 52 weeks, and none withdrew for adverse effects.
Results Treatment groups were compared after adjustment for prerandomization covariates using an intent-to-treat analysis. At 10 weeks, massage was superior to self-care on the symptom scale (3.41 vs 4.71, respectively; P = .01) and the disability scale (5.88 vs 8.92, respectively; P<.001). Massage was also superior to acupuncture on the disability scale (5.89 vs 8.25, respectively; P = .01). After 1 year, massage was not better than self-care but was better than acupuncture (symptom scale: 3.08 vs 4.74, respectively; P = .002; dysfunction scale: 6.29 vs 8.21, respectively; P = .05). The massage group used the least medications (P<.05) and had the lowest costs of subsequent care.
Conclusions Therapeutic massage was effective for persistent low back pain, apparently providing long-lasting benefits. Traditional Chinese Medical acupuncture was relatively ineffective. Massage might be an effective alternative to conventional medical care for persistent back pain.
From the Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, Wash (Drs Cherkin and Barlow and Ms Street); Beth Israel–Deaconess Center for Alternative Medicine Research and Education, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass (Drs Eisenberg and Kaptchuk); Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Seattle (Dr Sherman); and the Departments of Medicine and Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle (Dr Deyo).