In the one clinical trial that directly compared massage and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) for back pain massage gave the far superior results. If we compare the scientific evidence for each alone we find that massage is very safe and supported by reasonable clinical trial results, whereas NSAIDS have performed poorly in clinical trials and have a horrendous record of causing serious side effects and death. The evidence clearly shows massage to be way superior to NSAIDS for back pain.
In spite this medical guidelines recommend NSAIDs rather than massage. A reason given is the cost of massage, however the massage that produced the superior results in the direct comparison was self massage. This negates the cost excuse and creates huge opportunities for back pain sufferers.
In this article we will discuss this trial and the other evidence relating to the effectiveness and safety of massage and NSAIDS, then discuss your massage and self massage options.
The trial where massage and NSAIDS were directly compared
Summary of clinical trial results and safety for massage
Summary of clinical trial results and safety for NSAIDS
Your self massage options
Appendix: How clinical trials can mislead