State-of-the-Art Database Housing the Current Evidence Exploring the Impact of Massage Therapy on Function for Individuals Experiencing Pain
This state-of-the-art, comprehensive database houses data of the 99 randomized controlled trials included in a systematic review and meta-analysis, described below, that investigated the impact of massage therapy on function in three types of pain populations: 1) populations who would typically visit their general healthcare practitioner with complaints of pain; 2) patients undergoing or recovering from surgical/operative procedures and 3) cancer patients.
Users can use the search, sort and filter functions to manipulate the database's information as well as click on individual rows to view additional data (displayed below the table) pertinent to each article and extracted for the purpose of systematic review.
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW BACKGROUND
Pain is multi-dimensional and may be better addressed through a holistic, biopsychosocial approach. Usage of complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) therapies is rising given the high rates of pain and unsatisfactory results from conventional pain treatment. One popular CIM therapy is massage, which involves the manipulation of soft-tissue to alleviate pain and discomfort. Despite its wide use, there continues to be ongoing debate about its efficacy for pain.
The following definitions were used for purposes of this review:
An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage. Pain is always subjective. Pain can be acute or chronic (Pain Management Task Force)
The systematic manipulation of soft tissue with the hands that positively affects and promotes healing, reduces stress, enhances muscle relaxation, improves local circulation and creates a sense of well-being. [Evidence for Massage Therapy (EMT) Working Group]
Given the multi-dimensionality of pain and its subsequent effect on various function-related outcomes, the authors believe it is important to address pain through a biopsychosocial approach to best address the whole patient. As such, the authors view function to encompass the following outcomes:
6) Quality of life
7) Pain pressure threshold
8) Physiological outcomes
Key databases were searched from inception to February 2014. Articles were included in the systematic review if they met all of the following criteria: (a) human population experiencing pain, as defined above; (b) massage therapy, as defined above, administered (i) alone as a therapy; (ii) as part of a multi-modal intervention where massage effects can be separately evaluated; or (iii) with techniques commonly used with massage pre-defined with an expert steering committee (i.e., external application of water, heat, cold, lubricants, background music, aromas, essential oils, and tools that may mimic the actions that can be performed by the hands); (c) sham, no treatment or active comparator (i.e., those in which participants are actively receiving any type of intervention); (d) at least one relevant functional outcome (as defined above), and (e) the study being a peer-reviewed randomized study design published in the English language.
All trials included in the review and presented in this database were assessed for methodological quality using SIGN 50 Checklist. Results of high (1) and acceptable (2) methodological quality studies are considered unlikely to change while those of low (3) quality studies are likely biased and subject to change if criteria were properly addressed. Characteristics of included studies were extracted and meta-analysis was applied at the outcome level where sufficient data was available.
Detailed results and recommendations for both research as well as practice are offered through the following series of Pain Medicine publications:
Crawford C, Boyd C, Paat C, Price A, Xenakis L, Yang E, Zhang W & the EMT Working Group. 2016. The Impact of Massage Therapy on Function in Pain Populations - A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials: Part I, Patients Experiencing Pain in the General Population. Pain Medicine. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnw099.Link
Boyd C, Crawford C, Paat C, Price A, Xenakis L, Zhang W & the EMT Working Group. 2016. The Impact of Massage Therapy on Function in Pain Populations - A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials: Part II, Cancer Pain Populations. Pain Medicine. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnw100.Link
Boyd C, Crawford C, Paat C, Price A, Xenakis L, Zhang W & the EMT Working Group. 2016. The Impact of Massage Therapy on Function in Pain Populations - A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials: Part III, Surgical Pain Populations. Pain Medicine. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnw101.Link
Dosage formula: Number of Sessions x Duration of Each Treatment (Minutes), Frequency (i.e. daily, weekly), for total duration (i.e. days, weeks) + homework; *Included in meta-analysis, ND: Not Described.