Massage therapy helps to increase range of motion, decrease pain and assist in healing a client with low back pain and sciatica symptoms

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2008 Jul;12(3):281-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2008.01.006. Epub 2008 Apr 10.


Objective: This study evaluated the effectiveness of massage therapy as a component in increasing range of motion (ROM), decreasing pain and assisting in healing of a client with low back pain (LBP) and sciatica symptoms.

Methods: The client presented with an insidious onset of LBP and pain that radiated into the right lower extremity (sciatica). The client had been experiencing this pain daily for the past 9 months. Frequency, duration, and intensity of symptoms were recorded in a daily diary beginning the day after the client's first visit with the massage therapist. Manual therapy was administered once a week; each session lasted 45 min and consisted of a structured protocol directed mainly toward muscles of the lumbar spine, pelvis, thigh, and leg regions.

Results: The results of this study suggest that massage therapy was effective at reducing LBP intensity and increasing ROM for this particular client. LBP intensity was assessed at level one the first three assessment periods. The reduction in post-massage LBP intensity was maintained from week six until week 10 with the exception of week six (no change) and week seven (pain increase due to intense trigger point treatment). The client's activities of daily living (ADLs) steadily increased throughout the 10-week study.

Conclusion: The distinct techniques and stretches used during the course of this study have the possibility of becoming useful, non-pharmacological interventions for reducing or eliminating pain and sciatica symptoms associated with low back pain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Massage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Sciatica / physiopathology
  • Sciatica / therapy*
  • Wound Healing*