Effectiveness of Chinese massage therapy (Tui Na) for chronic low back pain: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Low back pain is a common, disabling musculoskeletal disorder in both developing and developed countries. Although often recommended, the potential efficacy of massage therapy in general, and Chinese massage (tuina) in particular, for relief of chronic low back pain (CLBP) has not been fully established due to inadequate sample sizes, low methodological quality, and subclinical dosing regimens of trials to date. Thus, the purpose of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) is to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of tuina massage therapy versus conventional analgesics for CLBP.
The present study is a single center, two-arm, open-label RCT. A total of 150 eligible CLBP patients will be randomly assigned to either a tuina treatment group or a conventional drug control group in a 1:1 ratio. Patients in the tuina group receive a 20 minutes, 4-step treatment protocol which includes both structural and relaxation massage, administered in 20 sessions over a period of 4 weeks. Patients in the conventional drug control group are instructed to take a specific daily dose of ibuprofen. The primary outcome measure is the change from baseline back pain and function, measured by Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire, at two months. Secondary outcome measures include the visual analogue scale, Japanese orthopedic association score (JOAS), and McGill pain questionnaire.
The design and methodological rigor of this trial will allow for collection of valuable data to evaluate the efficacy of a specific tuina protocol for treating CLBP. This trial will therefore contribute to providing a solid foundation for clinical treatment of CLBP, as well as future research in massage therapy.
This trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov of the National Institute of Health on 22 October 2013 (http://NCT01973010).
AuthorsMingxiao Yang, Yue Feng, Hong Pei, Shufang Deng, Minyu Wang, Xianjun Xiao, Hui Zheng, Zhenhong Lai, Jiao Chen, Xiang Li, Xiaoguo He, Fanrong Liang
JournalTrials (Trials) Vol. 15 Pg. 418 ( 2014) ISSN: 1745-6215 [Electronic] England
PMID25352050 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Randomized Controlled Trial, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
  • Adult
  • China
  • Chronic Pain (physiopathology, psychology, therapy)
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain (diagnosis, physiopathology, psychology, therapy)
  • Male
  • Massage
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional (methods)
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Perception
  • Pain Threshold
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Research Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult

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