Mumbai: Nagging back pain? New research reports that a weekly one-hour massage could be just the thing. A study shows that a 10-week massage treatment reduced pain more than medications and exercises, and the effects lasted for six months.

The research, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, involved about 400 patients aged 20 to 65 with chronic low back pain.

Seattle-based researchers from the Group Health Research Institute examined the benefits of relaxation massage, such as Swedish-style massage, and more structural massage, a technique provided by therapists with advanced training.

The study found that both kinds of massage benefited the subjects.

At the end of the 10-week treatment, nearly 40 percent of patients in the massage groups said their pain was nearly or completely gone, compared to four percent in the usual care group, which included treatments such as taking pain medications or muscle relaxants, seeing doctors or physical therapists, or not doing anything.

A prior study from the National Institutes of Health found that massage therapy may have immediate benefits on pain and mood among patients with advanced cancer. The study appeared in a 2008 issue of the same journal.