Study Suggest Massage is Helpful in Chronic Pain But Not Longlasting

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
No big surprise here. Massage appears to be helpful in the short-term in FM and other chronic pain and it's about as helpful as acupuncture, as relaxation therapy, joint manipulation, etc. The evidence for massages efficacy in FM, however, is quite light according to this study ( Low-to-very-low-level). These physical therapies help to ameliorate symptoms - which is good - but no more...No surprise there!

J Physiother. 2015 Jun 17. pii: S1836-9553(15)00058-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jphys.2015.05.018. [Epub ahead of print] Massage therapy has short-term benefits for people with common musculoskeletal disorders compared to no treatment: a systematic review.
Bervoets DC1, Luijsterburg PA1, Alessie JJ2, Buijs MJ2, Verhagen AP1.

Is massage therapy effective for people with musculoskeletal disorders compared to any other treatment or no treatment?
RESULTS:

Overall, low-to-moderate-level evidence indicated that massage reduces pain in the short term compared to no treatment in people with shoulder pain and osteoarthritis of the knee, but not in those with low back pain or neck pain. Furthermore, low-to-moderate-level evidence indicated that massage improves function in the short term compared to no treatment in people with low back pain, knee arthritis or shoulder pain. Low-to-very-low-level evidence from single studies indicated no clear benefits of massage over acupuncture, joint mobilisation, manipulation or relaxation therapy in people with fibromyalgia, low back pain and general musculoskeletal pain.
CONCLUSIONS:

Massage therapy, as a stand-alone treatment, reduces pain and improves function compared to no treatment in some musculoskeletal conditions. When massage is compared to another active treatment, no clear benefit was evident. [Bervoets DC, Luijsterburg PAJ, Alessie JJN, Buijs MJ, Verhagen AP (2015) Massage therapy has short-term benefits for people with common musculoskeletal disorders compared to no treatment: a systematic review.Journal of PhysiotherapyXX: XX-XX].
 

fdotx

Well-Known Member
I agree. One year I decided to spend about a thousand bucks getting massage every 10 days or so - felt good while it was being done but that's about it. That said, it is supposedly good for you whether it lessens symptoms or not. I get 1 or 2 a year now...
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
I agree. One year I decided to spend about a thousand bucks getting massage every 10 days or so - felt good while it was being done but that's about it. That said, it is supposedly good for you whether it lessens symptoms or not. I get 1 or 2 a year now...
Yes, a nice thing to do if you can afford it but unfortunately no lasting effects.
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
I disagree at the point that massage is done only to ameliorate the pain. Personally, I passed through a long recovery after a car accident, and the massage was the only help and cure. In about three months massage helped me to recover completely, without surgical interferences needed.
I think particularly with direct injuries massage can be very helpful and much speed the recovery process. With central sensitization diseases like FM - where a major problem is in activated pain producing nervous system circuits - not so sure.
I agree that sometimes massage gives only a temporary effect of getting rid of back pain, but it depends on the cause of this pain. For example, I can say that I had 3 pregnancies and a very heavy load on my back because of which I felt terrible pain. The medication didn't help me get rid of this pain and I decided that I needed to find a good massage therapist. And when we went on vacation to Korea, I found a good Spa there (here's their website, you can see it masakor.com). I took a massage course with essential oils and I no longer feel any pain.
Good to hear!
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Massage is Dr. Ginerva Lipan - a fibromyalgia specialist - favorite form of therapy for her patients.
 

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