Papers

Massage for LBP

(Furlan, Giraldo, Baskwill, Irvin, & Imamura, 2015)

Aims: To assess the effects of massage therapy for people with non-specific LBP.

Methods: RCTs, LBP, Inactive (supposed to be ineffective) or active modalities. Outcomes measures = pain and functional status, < or > to 6months. Secondary outcome = overall improvement, patient satisfaction, quality of life and work-related status. Cochrane methodology. Total patients 3096.

Results: Adverse events: No other that increase in pain in 5 to 25% of patients.

-Massage vs inactive controls for acute LBP: It is unclear whether or not massage is more effective than inactive controls for pain and function at short-term follow-up.

-Massage vs inactive controls for sub-acute and chronic LBP: It is unclear whether or not massage is better than inactive controls for pain and function in the long term.

-Massage vs active controls for acute LBP: unknown.

-Massage vs active controls for sub-acute and chronic LBP: It is unclear whether or not massage is more effective than active controls for pain and function in the short-term follow-up and for pain and function in the long-term.

Low to very low quality of evidence.

Limitations: Allocation, blinding, incomplete data, selective reporting, funding not reported,

In Practice: We have very little confidence that massage is an effective treatment for LBP. For acute LBP, massage improved pain but not function when compared to inactive controls in the short-term follow-up. For sub-acute and chronic LBP, massage improved pain and function outcomes in the short-term but not in the long-term follow-up when it was compared to inactive controls. Compared with active controls, massage improved pain in the short and long- term follow-ups, but it did not improve function at any follow-up. There were only minor adverse effects with massage. The benefits of massage for patients with acute, sub-acute and chronic non-specific LBP were found mostly in the short-term follow-up period (up to six months after randomization) for pain outcomes.

Furlan, A. D., Giraldo, M., Baskwill, A., Irvin, E., & Imamura, M. (2015). Massage for low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2017(12). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD001929.pub3

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