New study: massage for chronic neck pain

- The results from this study may lead to better treatment for chronic neck pain, says professor Frauke Musial.

Bilde av kvinne som mottar nakkemassasje
Mostphotos/ UiT.

Chronic pain is a substantial challenge, with consequences both for the individual and for the society. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health estimates that around one-third of Norwegian adults suffer from chronic pain. Often, this results in long-term sick leave, reduced work and earning capacity, and eventually disability benefit.
- Pain-relieving drugs are addictive. Luckily, awareness of this is growing. But the offering of medication-free treatment such as CAM therapies, is limited in the health care system, says Musial.
Therefore, Musial and her international research team will do a pilot-study, to get a better understanding on how massage therapy can work for  
 Pain threshold tested before and after

 The participants in the study will either have cupping massage (intens) or tactile massage (soft). To measure changes in the nervous system, the researchers will use quantitative sensory testing.
 -In chronic pain patients, we can often observe changes in the way pain signals are processed in their nerve system.
Such changes can be measured and described with QST, she explains. QST consists of 12 tests performed on the skin, and the participants give answers to questions about how they experience touch, pressure and temperature. Also, their thresholds for sensitivity pain are tested. 
-There are QST-data from healthy people. So we can compare the results from the study with these and look for deviation.
May lead to more efficient treatment for neck pain

According to Musial, these measurements are the most important in the project.

 - Managing pain can be challenging, because it is individual. In this project we can expand the measurements from subjective experiences and descriptions to objective data and results. From this, we can improve understanding of massage as a treatment for chronic pain.  
 - As a result of this, there could be more detailed and effective treatments,
 contribute to higher quality of life for those with chronic pain.

- As a result of this, there could be more detailed and effective treatments,
 contribute to higher quality of life for those with chronic pain.
 The project is a collaboration between Professor Musial and Thomas Weiss, Winfried Meissner (Jena University Hospital, Germany) and Mats Jong (Mid Sweden University).

  -We have a great team, with experienced researchers on pain: one physiologist and neuroscientist, one MD specialized in pain and one specialist in medication-free therapy against pain. We are excited to get started, says Musial. 

The study “MeCNeck” (Mechanisms of Massage for Chronic Neck Pain) will begin January 1, 2024, and the recruitment for participants will begin fall 2024. The project will receive support from Ekhaga Foundation. 

Read more about QST – QST and research on CAM




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