Massage Therapy and Neck Pain 25 Apr 2019One of the most common conditions we treat is neck pain which can range from a simple stiff neck, to inability to turn your head to either the right or left. So in this blog post I wanted to discuss the recent scientific research regarding massage therapy for neck pain in people with neck arthritis.
- 1 in 5 people who visit a massage therapist do so because of neck pain
- 28% of people with neck pain due to neck arthritis are likely to book a massage
Until the most recent research the scientific literature on the effects of massage therapy on neck arthritis pain was mixed. In this study an attempt was made to enhance the effects of weekly massage therapy by having the participants massage themselves daily.
Forth eight participants from a medical school, suffering from neck arthritis pain, were randomly split into two groups, one that received massage treatments and a wait list control group. The first group received a course of four 30 minutes weekly moderate pressure massages and supplemented this with 15 minute daily self-massage. The control group started the same course of treatments after four weeks without massages.The effectiveness of the treatments were measured through self-reports and range of motion assessments, completed after massage treatments on the first and last days of the monthly study period.
The group that received the monthly course of weekly massage treatments, showed significant reductions in pain and improvements in range of motion. These ROM changes occurred specifically for nodding your head (flexion) and right and left lateral flexion motions. Between the first and last day of the course of treatments showed on average a 50% decrease in pain during flexion. Conversely the control group reported increases in pain and reductions in range of movement while waiting for massage treatments.The study Field T, Diego M, Gonzalez G and Funk C G (2014) Neck arthritis pain is reduced and range of motion is increased by massage therapy, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 20(4): 219 - 223 supports my subjective experience that massage therapy helps reduced neck pain and increase clients range of movement when it has been compromised.