Levels of Evidence
This paper will present and outline four scholarly primary research articles and one systematic review all published in recent years and related to the topic of decreasing pain while improving functionality with massage therapy. The method of each study will be presented and the levels of evidence according to the published hierarchy, by Polit and Beck (2012). Lastly, I will provide a summary of the things that is known and things still left to be discovered regarding the complementary intervention that is Massage Therapy. Empirical Literature
Little, P., Lewith, G., Webley, F., Evans, M., Beattie, A., Middleton, K., et al. (2008). Randomised Controlled Trial of Alexander Technique Lessons, Exercise, and Massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain. BMJ , 337, 438-441. (Level of Evidence: II)
The objective of this study was to test the effectiveness in three areas: Alexander technique lessons, exercise implementation and massage therapies as related to chronic and recurrent back pain. A total of 579 patients with chronic and recurrent back pain were randomly assigned to 4 groups; 144 were assigned to normal care (which consisted of medication), 147 were assigned to massage, while, 144 was assigned to the Alexander technique lessons; and half of each group were randomized to exercise prescriptions. The interventions included, normal care (control), six sessions of massage, 6-24 lessons of the Alexander technique, and a prescription for exercise from a doctor with nurse delivered behavioral counseling. These group outcomes were measured at baseline, 3 months, and one year using postal questionnaires with two mailings. Those that did not respond to the mailings also received telephone call. Data entry was blind to the study group.
This study concludes that One on one lessons of Alexander technique from registered teachers have long term benefits for patients with Chronic Back pain; whereas, massage is shown to be effective as a short term intervention to chronic back pain.
Seers, K., Crichton, N., Martin, J., Coulson, K., & Carroll, D. (2008, July 4). A Randomdised Controlled Trial to assess the Effecctiveness of a Single Sesson of Nurse Administered Massage for Short Term Relief of Chronic Non-Malignant pain. BMC Nursing 7.10 , 10-14. (Level of Evidence: II)
The purpose of this study was to decipher the effectiveness of one nurse-performed massage on chronic non-malignant pain. This was a randomized controlled trial design, where 52 patients were picked by simple block randomization using blocks of ten using a computer in another remote unconnected location, while the remaining 51 were placed into the control group for a total of 103 participants. The patients [study subjects] were 18 yrs old and over who had experienced pain for 3 months or more and rated their pain as moderate to severe. The randomly picked group received a 15 minutes massage which included effleurage, petrrissage and kneading on their back, neck, and shoulders using sweet almond oil but no talk. While the control group received a 15 minutes visit with a Registered Nurse (RN) to talk about their pain and possible treatments but received no massage. An independent Nurse Observer, blind to the patient's treatment assessed the patients immediately before treatment, immediately after treatment, and at 1-4 hrs after treatment (Seers, Crichton, Martin, Coulson, & Carroll, 2008, p. 11) In conclusion, Patients in the massage group had significantly less pain compared to baseline immediately before and one hr post treatment. This study suggests that massage could be useful as a short term intervention, to reduce both pain and anxiety. (Seers, Crichton, Martin, Coulson, & Carroll, 2008). While the participants in the control group reported taking more medications. Furland, A. D, Imamaura, M., Dryden, T., Irvin, E. (2010). Massage for Low back pain: A...