18 December 2007

Night massage good after surgery

A new study has shown that an evening back massage may help relieve the pain and anxiety experienced by patients after major surgery.

An evening back massage may help relieve the pain and anxiety experienced by patients after major surgery, according to study results reported in the Archives of Surgery.

Dr Daniel B. Hinshaw and colleagues examined the short-term effect of massage among patients undergoing chest or abdominal surgery at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Indianapolis, Indiana.

How the study was done
Patients were randomly assigned to routine care, individualised emotional support (without massage) for 20 minutes, or to a 20-minute back massage by a massage therapist.

The two interventions were conducted in the evening, for up to five days after surgery.

Subjects rated pain intensity, the accompanying emotions ("pain unpleasantness"), and anxiety using standard tests.

Roughly 200 patients were in each group and nearly all of the subjects were male.

What the study revealed
Subjects in the massage group reported greater daily improvement in scores for pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, and anxiety compared with the other two groups.

"These significant reductions were most pronounced on the first postoperative day," the authors report.

Averaged over four days, the scores for pain intensity and pain unpleasantness also improved more quickly in the massage group.

Patients who received individualised emotional support reported no differences in any of the pain outcomes than did subjects who received routine care.

With the recent emphasis on improving pain outcomes and recognition of the potential hazards associated with pain medications, the authors suggest that "it is time to reintegrate the use of effective and less dangerous approaches to relieve patient distress." – (Reuters Health) p>Read more:
Massage may injure nerves
Massage best for backache?


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Dangerous winter sun »

Why female students ignore the risks of indoor tanning Can rooibos protect you from the effects of UVB exposure?

Skin cancer always a risk – even in winter

During winter, the risk of skin cancer doesn’t disappear. CyberDoc talks to us about when to see your doctor about a strange-looking mole or spot.

Did you know? »

The 5 saltiest foods may surprise you Craving salt? Your genes may be the reason

10 fascinating facts about salt

The one thing that fast foods, whether it be chips, hamburgers, pretzels or fried chicken have in common, is loads of salt.