Table 21Key results – Massage therapy for low back pain

CAM therapyDuration of painCause of painOutcomeRisk-of-biasPrecision of the pooled estimateConsistencyDirectnessFindingGRADEψ
Massage vs. No TxAcute/subacuteS------Insufficient
NSVAS: C360M-NADirect> SSLow
Oswestry: C360M-NADirect> SSLow
ChronicS------Insufficient
NSVAS: B, D369M-NADirect= S-NSLow
Oswestry: B, D369M-NADirect= S-NSLow
GHP: B, D369M-NADirect= S-NSLow
SF-36: B, D369M-NADirect= S-NSLow
MixedS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
UnknownS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
Massage vs. PLAcute/subacuteS------Insufficient
NSVAS: B, C360,361M-YesDirect> SSModerate
Oswestry: C360,M-NADirect> SSLow
RMDQ: B, C361M-NADirect> SSLow
MPQ: B, C360,361M-YesDirect> SSModerate
ChronicS------Insufficient
NSVAS: D368H-NADirect= NRLow
MPQ: D368H-NADirect= NRLow
RMDQ: D368H-NADirect= NRLow
SF-36: D368H-NADirect= NRLow
MixedS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
UnknownS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
Massage vs. PTAcute/subacuteS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
ChronicS------Insufficient
NSVAS: D364M-NADirect> SSLow
SF-PQ: B, D365M-NADirect> SSLow
RMDQ: B, D364M-NADirect> SSLow
Modified Oswestry: B, D364M-NADirect> SSLow
# of days off from work: B, D364M-NAIndirect> SSLow
VAS: BMPrecise (2)364,365YesDirect> SSModerate
MixedS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
UnknownS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
Massage vs. STAcute/subacuteS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
ChronicS------Insufficient
NSRMDQ: D90M-NADirect= S-NSLow
VAS: D90M-NADirect= S-NSLow
SF-36: D90M-NADirect= S-NSLow
MixedS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
UnknownS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
Massage vs. ExAcute/subacuteS------Insufficient
NSVAS: B, C361M-NADirect> SSLow
RMDQ: B, C361M-NADirect> SSLow
ROM (modified Schober test): B,C361M-NAIndirect= S-NSLow
ChronicS------Insufficient
NSVAS: B41,90M-YesDirect= S-NSModerate
MixedS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
UnknownS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
Massage vs. TENSAcute/subacuteS------Insufficient
NSVAS: B101H-NADirect= S-NSLow
ROM (Schober’s test: ext, flx): B101H-NAIndirect= S-NSLow
ChronicS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
MixedS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
------Insufficient
UnknownS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
Massage vs. RelaxAcute/subacuteS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
ChronicS------Insufficient
NSVAS: BHImprecise (2)370,372YesDirect> SSLow
ROM (flx): BHImprecise (2)370,372YesIndirect= S-NSLow
VAS: B, D369M-NADirect= S-NSLow
Oswestry: B, D369M-NADirect= S-NSLow
SF-36: B, D369M-NADirect= S-NSLow
MixedS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient
UnknownS------Insufficient
NS------Insufficient

S=specific; NS=nonspecific; SS=statistically significant; S-NS=statistically nonsignificant; Man=manipulation; Acu=acupuncture; Ma=massage; Mob=mobilization; PL=placebo; Tx=treatment. Med=medication(s); Int=intervention; PT=physiotherapy; ST=standard therapy; E-acu=electro-acupuncture; MR=muscle relaxation; TENS= transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation; Ex=exercise; TrP=trigger point; VAS=visual analog scale; RMDQ=Roland Morris Disability scale; NHP=Nottingham Health Profile; PPT= pressure pain threshold; HFAQ=Hanover functional ability questionnaire; MPQ=McGill pain questionnaire; ext=extension; flx=flexion; rot=rotation; PDI=pain disability index; min=minute(s); hr(s)=hour(s); L=low; M=medium; H=high; pt(s)=patient(s); SF=short-form; NPQ=neck pain questionnaire; GWBS=global well-being scale; SLR=straight leg raising; GPE= Global perceived effect; NSAIDS=nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs; FTF=finger-to-floor; SF-PQ=short form pain questionnaire; PRI=pain rating index; PPI=present pain intensity

ψ Grade (High, moderate, low, and insufficient)

£ Number of pooled trials

B = immediate post-treatment

C = short-term post-treatment

D = intermediate-term post-treatment

E = long-term post-treatment

H = high

L = low

M = medium

- No evidence

= Similar beneficial effect

> Favors treatment A over treatment B

< Favors treatment B over treatment A

><, =>, <= Inconsistent beneficial effect

From: 3, Results

Cover of Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Back Pain II
Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Back Pain II.
Evidence Reports/Technology Assessments, No. 194.
Furlan AD, Yazdi F, Tsertsvadze A, et al.

NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.