The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    Evidence for massage to treat low-back pain

    Few treatments for back pain are supported by strong scientific evidence. Conventional treatments have limited success and often result in dissatisfied patients who turn to CAM.

    A review from the Cochrane Collaboration concluded, “massage might be beneficial for patients with subacute and chronic non-specific low-back pain, especially when combined with exercises and education.”

    Massage was inferior to manipulation and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) (more on TENS here); equal to corsets and exercises; and better than relaxation therapy, acupuncture, and self-care education. The beneficial effects of massage in patients with chronic low-back pain lasted at least one year following treatment.

    Another review of acupuncture, massage therapy, and spinal manipulation for nonspecific back pain concluded that massage was effective for persistent low back pain. In addition, “Preliminary evidence suggests that massage, but not acupuncture or spinal manipulation, may reduce the costs of care after an initial course of therapy.”

    Need a massage therapist? Try this site. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork also maintains a directory. Be sure to read the directions before using this directory.

    Caution: before visiting the massage therapist, have your back examined by a physician to be sure there are no underlying problems that should be treated medically or make massage a risky option.

    7/23/06 12:44 JR

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