Effects of Massage as a Combination Therapy with Lumbopelvic Stability Exercises as Compared to Standard Massage Therapy in Low Back Pain: a Randomized Cross-Over Study

Leonard H. Joseph, PhD, Benjamaporn Hancharoenkul, MSc, PT, Patraporn Sitilertpisan, PhD, Ubon Pirunsan, PhD, Aatit Paungmali, PhD


Background: Little is known about the effects of providing massage as a combination therapy (CT) with lumbopelvic stability training (LPST) in management of chronic nonspecific low back pain (CLBP) among elite female weight lifters. It is unclear whether massage therapy (MT) together with LPST has any additional clinical benefits for individuals with CLBP.

Purpose: The current study compares the thera-peutic effects of CT against MT as a stand-alone intervention on pain intensity (PI), pain pressure threshold (PPT), tissue blood flow (TBF), and lumbopelvic stability (LPS) among elite weight lifters with CLBP.

Setting: The study was conducted at the campus for National Olympic weight lifting training camp.

Participants: A total of 16 professional female elite weight lifting athletes who were training for Olympic weight lifting competition participated in the study.
Research Design: A within-subject, repeated measures, crossover, single-blinded, randomized allocation study.

Intervention: The athletes were randomized into three sessions of CT and MT with a time interval of 24 hrs within sessions and a wash out period of four weeks between the sessions.

Main Outcome Measures: The PI, PPT, TBF, and LPS were measured before and after each session repeatedly in both groups of intervention. The changes in the PI, PPT, TBF, and LPS were analyzed using repeated measures analysis of vari-ance (ANOVA).

Results: The results showed that the CT signifi-cantly demonstrated greater effects in reducing pain perception (45%–51%), improving pain pressure threshold (15% up to 25%), and increas-ing tissue blood flow (131%–152%) than MT (p < .001).

Conclusion: The combination therapy of mas-sage therapy and LPST is likely to provide more clinical benefits in terms of PI, PPT, and TBF when compared to massage as a stand-alone therapy among individuals with chronic nonspecific low back pain.


massage; exercise; back pain; rehabilitation; weight lifting; sports

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3822/ijtmb.v11i4.413

International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
ISSN 1916-257X