186751 Massage to Reduce Pain in People with Spinal Cord Injury

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cynthia A. Brooks, MSHA , Research Department, Craig Hospital, Englewood, CO
Theresa Chase, RN, ND, MA , Nursing Department, Craig Hospital, Englewood, CO
Melissa Sendroy Terrill, MA , Research Department, Craig Hospital, Englewood, CO
Pain is one of the most frequent and bothersome problems faced by people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Causes are many and varied including pain from fractures, other injuries, post-surgical pain, neurogenic and/or neuropathic pain, pain from immobility, positioning, or from muscle imbalances or tone. While there are many attempts to treat pain with pharmacological agents, surgery, or physical or psychological interventions, on the whole, evidence of their effectiveness is often limited; the side effects may be uncomfortable; and often the results are less desirable than the pain itself.

This presentation will describe the methodology and results of an NIH-funded R21 single center study, using a randomized controlled crossover design, to evaluate the effectiveness of trained nurses doing a broad compression style massage compared to a control treatment to reduce pain in patients with SCI during acute rehabilitation. The study sample included 40 individuals age 16 or older. Each participated for 5 weeks, receiving a total of 6 massage treatments and 6 control treatments. Results showed broad compression massage is safe and well tolerated, but is not more effective than light contact touch in treating pain. Our findings demonstrate that pain symptoms decrease significantly during acute rehabilitation after SCI. There was a statistically significant improvement in pain intensity favoring light touch; however, the clinical significance is unclear, because the differences in pain interference were not statistically significant between the two treatments. No significant differences were found between the two treatments for other outcomes including fatigue, medication usage or patient satisfaction.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the challenges of designing and implmenting complementary and alternative medicine clinical trials in acute rehabilitation settings. 2. Identify the results of a randomized clinical trial to evaluate massage as a pain treatment for people with spinal cord injury 3. Discuss limitations and factors in interpreting results of a randomized clinical trial.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Served as Project Manager for this study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.