Longer Massage Sessions Effective for Neck Pain
(HealthDay News) — Multiple 60-minute massage sessions are effective for neck dysfunction and pain among patients with chronic neck pain, according to a study published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.
Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH, from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, and colleagues examined the optimal dose of massage for individuals with chronic nonspecific neck pain. A cohort of 228 individuals with chronic nonspecific neck pain were recruited and randomized to five groups receiving a four-week course of 30-minute visits two or three times weekly or 60-minute visits once, twice, or three times weekly, or to a single waitlist control group.
The researchers found that, regardless of the frequency of treatments, there was no significant benefit for 30-minute treatments versus waitlist control in terms of clinically meaningful improvement in neck dysfunction or pain, after adjustment for baseline age, outcome measures, and imbalanced covariates. The likelihood of such improvement was significantly increased with 60-minute treatments two or three times per week in terms of neck dysfunction (relative risks, 3.41 and 4.98, respectively) and pain intensity (relative risks, 2.30 and 2.73, respectively).
"After four weeks of treatment, we found multiple 60-minute massages per week more effective than fewer or shorter sessions for individuals with chronic neck pain," the authors write. "Clinicians recommending massage and researchers studying this therapy should ensure that patients receive a likely effective dose of treatment."