28% of people suffering from pain due to neck arthritis are likely to seek treatment from massage therapists' and neck pain accounts for one in five visits to massage therapists. According to a study published in the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, massage therapy may help to reduce neck arthritis pain and increase your range of motion (ROM). The study aimed to show how the effects of weekly massage treatments by a therapist could be enhanced with daily massage.
48% participants from a medical school, suffering from neck arthritis pain, were split into two groups, one receiving massage treatments and the other a waitlist (control group). The first group received for 30-minute massages by a licensed massage therapist, and 15-minute daily self-massages. The control group started the same course of treatments after four weeks without massages.
The effectiveness of the treatments was measured through self reports and ROM assessments, completed after massage treatments on the first and last days of the four week study period. The assessment measures included identifying faces showing various emotions that were matched with the emotions of the participants, and measuring ROM on a numbered scale, with zero indicating no movement and two indicating full movement. The groups that received the course of massage treatments throughout the study showed significant short term reductions in pain and improvements in ROM. This included ROM pain decreasing on average by 50% from the first to the last day of the study. Conversely the control group reported increases in pain and reductions in ROM while waiting for massage treatments. Pain associated with ROM significantly increased in the control group during this time. The researchers believe that mobile phone use could be a contributing factor to arthritic neck pain, as 'left and right lateral flexion pain were most prevalent at the baseline' of the neck.
Complements of Federation of Holistic Therapists