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Booster Massage Dose May Be Helpful in Chronic Neck Pain

Improvements in pain and dysfunction at 12 weeks for those receiving additional massages

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with chronic nonspecific neck pain, a booster dose of additional massages may be effective for reducing pain and dysfunction, according to a study published in the Oct. 1 issue of The Spine Journal.

Andrea J. Cook, Ph.D., from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a two-phase randomized trial for 179 individuals with chronic nonspecific neck pain. Participants were randomized to one of five groups receiving four weeks of massage (30 or 60 minutes). Participants were randomized to receive an additional six 60-minute massages (booster dose) or no additional massage.

The researchers found that at 12 or 26 weeks there were no differences by primary treatment group. At 12 weeks, there were improvements in both dysfunction and pain for those receiving the booster dose (relative risks, 1.56 [95 percent confidence interval (CI), 1.08 to 2.25] and 1.25 [95 percent CI, 0.98 to 1.61], respectively); these were no longer significant at 26 weeks (relative risks, 1.22 [95 percent CI, 0.85 to 1.74] and 1.09 [95 percent CI, 0.82 to 1.43], respectively). In subgroup analysis, booster dose was found to be effective only among those initially randomized to one of the 60-minute massage groups.

"'Booster' doses for those initially receiving 60 minutes of massage should be incorporated into future trials of massage for chronic neck pain," the authors write.

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