Is soft tissue massage an effective treatment for mechanical shoulder pain? A study protocol.

Very little research has been conducted into the effectiveness of soft tissue massage as an intervention for the treatment of mechanical shoulder pain. Studies that have been conducted suffer from methodological issues, poor long-term follow-up and have conflicting results. The aim of this study, therefore, is to provide treating clinicians with improved evidence regarding the effectiveness of soft tissue massage for shoulder pain of local mechanical origin. Participants referred to the trial with mechanical shoulder pain will be assessed for range of motion, functional ability, and pain by a blinded assessor. Participants will then be randomly allocated to either an exercise-only group or an exercise and soft tissue massage group. Both groups will receive seven treatment sessions from a physical therapist over a period of 4 weeks. One week after the cessation of treatment, all participants will be reassessed by the same blinded assessor. Three months after cessation of treatment, subjects will again be reassessed. The primary outcome will be pain measured on a visual analogue scale (VAS) 1 week following the cessation of treatment. Secondary analyses will be pain at 3 months, the descriptive and present pain index sections of the short form McGill pain questionnaire, patient specific functional scale, and percentage improvement in pain scores and range of motion at 1 week following the cessation of treatment and at 3 month follow-up. Analysis of data will be carried out by a statistician who is blinded to group membership. Primary analyses will by intention-to-treat.
AuthorsPaul van den Dolder, Paulo Ferreira, Kathryn Refshauge
JournalThe Journal of manual & manipulative therapy (J Man Manip Ther) Vol. 18 Issue 1 Pg. 50-4 (Mar 2010) ISSN: 2042-6186 [Electronic] England
PMID21655424 (Publication Type: Journal Article)

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