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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 613279, 10 pages
Review Article

Massage Therapy for Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

1Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200437, China
2Research Institute of Tuina, Shanghai Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China
3Department of Orthopedics, Shuguang Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China

Received 10 October 2012; Accepted 14 January 2013

Academic Editor: Wolfgang Weidenhammer

Copyright © 2013 Ling Jun Kong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To evaluate the effectiveness of massage therapy (MT) for neck and shoulder pain. Methods. Seven English and Chinese databases were searched until December 2011 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of MT for neck and shoulder pain. The methodological quality of RCTs was assessed based on PEDro scale. The meta-analyses of MT for neck and shoulder pain were performed. Results. Twelve high-quality studies were included. In immediate effects, the meta-analyses showed significant effects of MT for neck pain (standardised mean difference, SMD, 1.79; 95% confidence intervals, CI, 1.01 to 2.57; ) and shoulder pain (SMD, 1.50; 95% CI, 0.55 to 2.45; ) versus inactive therapies. And MT showed short-term effects for shoulder pain (SMD, 1.51; 95% CI, 0.53 to 2.49; ). But MT did not show better effects for neck pain (SMD, 0.13; 95% CI, −0.38 to 0.63; ) or shoulder pain (SMD, 0.88; 95% CI, −0.74 to 2.51; ) than active therapies. In addition, functional status of the shoulder was not significantly affected by MT. Conclusion. MT may provide immediate effects for neck and shoulder pain. However, MT does not show better effects on pain than other active therapies. No evidence suggests that MT is effective in functional status.