The sustainable training, treatment, employment program model: effects of manual therapy on musculoskeletal pain and limitation in a Filipino squatter community

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Jul-Aug;34(6):381-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.06.003.


Objective: The purpose of this study is to describe the musculoskeletal conditions and associated pain and limitation and the effects of massage treatment in a Filipino squatter community.

Methods: The study was conducted at the Hands On Philippines Education (HOPE) clinic in Bagong Barrio, Caloocan, Philippines. Baseline data were collected before the first treatment, and follow-up data were collected immediately after the second treatment. Treatment was delivered by massage students who were trained in massage by a chiropractic program faculty member through the Project HOPE charitable community-based initiative. A prospective pretest-posttest observational research design was used. The sample consisted of 290 subjects aged 16 years and older visiting the Project HOPE clinic. One hundred ninety-two subjects completed the follow-up surveys. The outcome measures were sites of pain, self-reported levels of pain, and limitation to activities of daily living at baseline and after the second massage therapy treatment.

Results: Three self-reported anatomical locations were identified by each subject. The most frequently reported painful sites over the last 7 days among the 166 respondents were the upper back (36.7%), lower back (18.7%), and shoulders (16.3%). The pre-post treatment analyses of pain and disability was restricted to 66 participants who provided completed outcome measures. After 2 massage therapy treatments, all pain and limitation scores decreased. A comparison of mean self-reported levels of pain and disability at baseline and immediately after the second consultation showed statistically significant decreases of pain (t65 = 16.97, P < .001) and disability (t65 = 12.4, P < .001).

Conclusion: This study suggests that participants who visited the Filipino squatter community clinic experience a high prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions located primarily within the axial skeleton, and that, in the short term, massage therapy delivered on-site by trained therapists was helpful in reducing self-reported levels of pain and limitation to activities of daily living.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Age Factors
  • Ambulatory Care / standards
  • Ambulatory Care / trends
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations / methods
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / diagnosis*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Philippines
  • Prospective Studies
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Transients and Migrants
  • Treatment Outcome