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|Issue 123||February 2017|
The report is a product of the VA/HSR&D Evidence Synthesis Program.
Massage for Pain: An Evidence Map
Results from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (representative sample of U.S. adults) estimate that approximately 15.4 million adults (7%) used massage therapy in the past 12 months. Moreover, many Veterans desire complementary and integrative health or alternative medicine modalities, both for treatment and for the promotion of wellness. Given this – and the widespread use of various massage therapies for pain, investigators with VA's Evidence-based Synthesis Program Center located in West Los Angeles, CA developed an evidence map project to:
This mapping project provides a visual overview of the distribution of evidence for massage therapy for indications of pain, as well as an accompanying narrative that will help stakeholders interpret the state of the evidence to inform policy and clinical decision-making.
Investigators searched PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane from database inception through February 17, 2016 for systematic reviews reporting pain outcomes for massage therapy, and identified 31 systematic reviews, of which 21 were considered high-quality. Some common massage types included Swedish massage, myofascial therapies, Shiatsu, Chinese traditional massage, Thai massage, slow stroke massage, and more general descriptions of massage. The most common types of pain included in systematic reviews were neck pain (n=6), followed by low back pain, headache, or shoulder pain. Also included in some studies were labor pain, fibromyalgia, cancer pain, and musculoskeletal pain.
Summary of Review
Below is the evidence map of systematic reviews describing the effects of massage for pain. The evidence map displays each of the 31 included systematic reviews as bubbles.
This evidence mapping project aims to help provide guidance to VA leadership about the distribution of evidence on massage therapy for pain to inform policy and clinical decision-making.
Please feel free to forward this information to others!
ESP is currently soliciting review topics from the broader VA community. Nominations will be accepted electronically using the online Topic Submission Form. If your topic is selected for a synthesis, you will be contacted by an ESP Center to refine the questions and determine a timeline for the report.
This Management e-Brief is provided to inform you about recent HSR&D findings that may be of interest. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you have any questions or comments about this Brief, please email CIDER. The Center for Information Dissemination and Education Resources (CIDER) is a VA HSR&D Resource Center charged with disseminating important HSR&D findings and information to policy makers, managers, clinicians, and researchers working to improve the health and care of Veterans.
This report is a product of VA/HSR&D's Quality Enhancement Research Initiative's (QUERI) Evidence-Based Synthesis Program (ESP), which was established to provide timely and accurate synthesis of targeted healthcare topics of particular importance to VA managers and policymakers – and to disseminate these reports throughout VA.
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