2012 Position Statements, Low back Pain

Published: August 31, 2012

Recently head delegate Greg Hurd explained Why Position Statements Matter. Here Delegate Sr. Pat Dowler examines one position statement being brought to the House of Delegates at the National Convention in October. We encourage your comments and thoughts below this post!

Proposed Position Statement

“It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) that massage therapy can be effective in reducing low back pain.” You can read the full text here.

There are 11 different references listed to support/back up this statement. One is just listed; the other 10 summarize the quoted reference.

I found the following:

Two references I felt were appropriate for supporting this proposal.

#2 is very good and it holds strong affirmation of massage effecting the reduction of low back pain. It had an excellent number of participants in the study and clear conclusions.

#7 although the study group was small (24) the interpretations were good. I would have liked a better explanation of “progressive muscle relaxation group”.

One is just a reference with no study documented: #1

One reference is just an inconclusive study: # 9

Three references are weak/vague: # 4, (limited because of very small study group, used “at least as effective as standard medical care ? how was this measured) #9 (Just a summary given without real “relaxation therapy group”?) and #11 (Just a broad statement was given. Massage was mentioned once, among other modalities. The position statement might be stronger if this reference/study were omitted.)

Two references reported other modalities (Shiatsu, acupuncture, acupressure, PT, “manual treatments”) much more strongly, leaving the reader to ask: What about massage?” #3, 5, 6, 10

One needs more clarification describing the methods used. It is a good study, though: #8

My thoughts: Although I believe and know from experience that MT is effective for low back pain, I am not sure how I will vote on this proposal based on the references and studies the author provided. I would suggest more consistent, definitive researching Massage Therapy not shiatsu, acupuncture, PT, “manual therapies”

I look forward to members comments on this statement and the supporting documents.