Research: LOVAS and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 268

Abstract

LOVAS and COLLEAGUES, 1. John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, Northern Clinical School, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Kolling Institute of Medical Science, RNSH, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia; 2. Key University Centre for Health Technologies, University of Technology Sydney, Broadway, New South Wales, Australia; 3. Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School-Northern, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; 4. Blacktown/Mt Druitt Hospitals Clinical School, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia conducted a randomized controlled trial feasibility study to assess the efficacy of massage therapy to reduce pain and fatigue in people with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI).

Background

To determine the efficacy of massage therapy (MT) as a treatment that could be implemented to reduce pain and fatigue in people with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI).

Methodology

Study Design: A randomized controlled trial (RCT). Objectives: To determine the efficacy of massage therapy (MT) as a treatment that could be implemented to reduce pain and fatigue in people with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). Setting: Laboratory setting in Sydney, Australia. Methods: Participants included 40 people with SCI living in the community who were randomly assigned into one of two RCT arms: MT (Swedish massage to upper body) or an active concurrent control (guided imagery (GI) relaxation). All participants received 30 min once a week of either massage or GI over 5 consecutive weeks. In addition to sociodemographic and injury factors, assessments and reliable measures including the short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire and Chalder's Fatigue Scale were validated.

Results

Chronic pain and fatigue were significantly reduced in the massage group when assessed at the end of 5 weeks (P<0.05), with large effect sizes. Interestingly, GI was as effective as MT in reducing pain and fatigue. Pain scores were reduced significantly over time in both MT and GI groups (P=0.049 and P=0.032, respectively). Total fatigue scores were also reduced in both MT and GI groups (P=0004 and P=0.037, respectively.)

Conclusion

Massage and GI are both active treatments that provide potential clinical benefits for adults with SCI. Future research should clarify the role of massage and GI in managing pain and fatigue in SCI and assess outcomes into the longer-term.

References

Lovas J1, Tran Y1,2, Middleton J1, Bartrop R3,4, Moore N3, Craig A1. Managing pain and fatigue in people with spinal cord injury: a randomized controlled trial feasibility study examining the efficacy of massage therapy. Spinal Cord. 55(2):162-166. Feb 2017. https://doi.org/10.1038/sc.2016.156 . Epub Nov 29 2016.

Comment

The above RCT demonstrated that both Massage and Guided Imagery interventions significantly reduced pain and fatigue in people with chronic spinal cord injury.

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