Regardless of pressure, massage therapy is beneficial for every patient, but does it have to hurt to be effective? Deep tissue massage (DMT) has been around for many years with many people representing one side or another, yes it should hurt vs. no it should not hurt.

What about the addition of NSAIDS? Will DTP plus NSAIDS help the pain more? The short answer is – it depends. What you are looking to get out of the treatment and pain that is relative. Does using one or the other or both together help more or less? The studies on deep tissue massage and back pain discus what’s more beneficial – the use of DTP alone vs. using NSAIDS in combination with DMT.

What the research says:

In a randomize trial comparing deep tissue massage and NSAIDS and their effect on chronic low back pain 59 patients received deep tissue massage, but only half were administered NSAIDS as well. Pain was was classified in terms of pain duration: 7 days, 7 days to 7 weeks, or over 7 weeks. Patients in each category saw dramatic improvement.

The trial was two weeks long with a total of ten sessions. Although this is an aggressive level of massage for one person in 2 weeks time, the results were on point! In a sweet taste of victory of the benefits of massage, the group with NSAIDs usage did not show any worthwhile data marks that proved it superior. Each group benefited around the same. Both groups in the trial saw a significant decrease in pain.

Overall, deep tissue massage alone was seen to be beneficial to chronic low back. This style of treatment can also be used on shoulders, neck, hips and each will have its own benefit. As a Massage therapist, the ability to “read” what the muscle needs and being able to deliver what that muscle needs is a skill.

Get a massage today. Get into a routine and stay consistent. Stay out of pain.


References: Majchrzycki, M., Kocur, P., & Kotwicki, T. (2014). Deep tissue massage and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for low back pain: a prospective randomized trial. TheScientificWorldJournal, 2014, 287597. https://doi-