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Massage News - August 2014

Massage News - August 2014

Paracetamol doesn't help back pain

Paracetamol, a painkiller universally recommended to treat people with acute low back pain, does not speed recovery or reduce pain from the condition, according to the results of a large trial. Panadol sells a product that is dedicated to back and neck pain, containing 500g paracetamol. The study published in The Lancet medical journal found that the popular pain medicine was no better than placebo, for hastening recovery from acute bouts of low back pain or easing pain levels, function, sleep or quality of life.

Researchers said the findings challenge the universal endorsement of paracetamol as the first choice painkiller for lower back pain. In this trial, 1,652 people from Sydney with acute low back pain were randomly assigned to receive up to four weeks of paracetamol, either in regular doses three times a day, or as needed, or to receive placebos. All those involved received advice and reassurance and were followed up for three months.

The results showed no difference in the number of days to recovery between the treatment groups - with the average time to recovery coming out at 17 days for each of the groups given paracetamol, and at 16 days for the placebo group.

Paracetamol had no effect on short-term pain levels, disability, function, sleep quality, or quality of life, the researchers said, and the number of patients reporting negative side effects was similar in all groups.

Christine Lin, an associate professor at the George Institute for Global Health and the University of Sydney who also worked on the study, said the reasons for paracetamol failing to work for lower back pain were not well understood. "While we have shown that paracetamol does not speed recovery from acute back pain, there is evidence that paracetamol works to relieve pain for a range of other conditions, such as headaches, some acute musculoskeletal conditions, tooth ache and for pain straight after surgery,"

"What this study indicates is that the mechanisms of back pain are likely to be different from other pain conditions, and this is an area that we need to study more." This study would suggest that probably the most important thing a patient does is to resume normal activities.

Weather does not affect Back Pain

Many people think the weather affects their back pain, but a new study shows they are probably wrong.

Researchers from University of Sydney studied 993 cases of sudden, acute back pain in primary care clinics in 2011 and 2012. They gathered weather information from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. Then they compared the weather when each patient first noticed back pain to the weather one week before and one month before.

The study, published online in Arthritis Care & Research, found no association of temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure or precipitation with episodes of pain. However, higher wind speed or gusts slightly increase the risk of lower back pain, but it is not clinically important.

"Many patients believe that weather impacts their pain symptoms," Dr. Daniel Steffens with the George Institute for Global Health, "However, there are few robust studies investigating weather and pain, specifically research that does not rely on patient recall of the weather."

Paediatric Massage Volunteer Program with AIDS Orphans

Buds to Blossoms is a not-for-profit organisation that brings teams of international volunteers to Vietnam. In this program, volunteers spend one to three weeks providing paediatric massage, infant massage or other forms of bodywork at an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam where there are eighty AIDS orphans. Massage is of particular value to the children because its immune system-strengthening effect may improve their compromised health. Massage also promotes the children's well-being by bringing relief from pain and anxiety and helping meet their emotional and developmental needs for one-on-one nurturing attention and touch. This program is conducted four times a year.

More details about Buds to Blossoms can be found at and you can watch a short video about the program here:

Sitting All Day can be Fatal

A large review recently published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute confirms what we’ve been hearing for years: Sitting can be fatal.

It’s been linked to cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In this latest meta-analysis, Daniela Schmid and Michael F. Leitzmann of the University of Regensburg in Germany analyzed 43 observational studies, amounting to more than 4 million people’s answers to questions about their sitting behavior and cancer incidences. The researchers examined close to 70,000 cancer cases and found that sitting is associated with a 24% increased risk of colon cancer, a 32% increased risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21% increased risk of lung cancer.

The really bad news: You can’t exercise away the habit’s harmful effects. “Adjustment for physical activity did not affect the positive association between sedentary behavior and cancer,” the authors write. Even participants who achieved the daily recommended levels of physical activity were at the same risk as those who spent their day sitting. “[The results] indicate that the increased risk of cancer seen in individuals with prolonged time spent sedentary is not explained by the mere absence of physical activity in those persons,” the researchers say.

Also Read Jo Key's article on Sitting Properly

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