Ottawa Panel evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on therapeutic massage for neck pain

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2012 Jul;16(3):300-325. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2012.04.001. Epub 2012 May 9.


Objective: To update evidence-based clinical practice guideline (EBCPG) on the use of massage compared to a control or other treatments for adults (>18 years) suffering from sub-acute and chronic neck pain.

Methods: A literature search was performed from January 1, 1948 to December 31, 2010 for relevant articles. The Ottawa Panel created inclusion criteria focusing on high methodological quality and grading methods. Recommendations were assigned a grade (A, B, C, C+, D, D+, D-) based on strength of evidence.

Results: A total of 45 recommendations from ten articles were developed including 8 positive recommendations (6 grade A and 2 grade C+) and 23 neutral recommendations (12 grade C and 11 grade D).

Discussion: Therapeutic massage can decrease pain, tenderness, and improve range of motion for sub-acute and chronic neck pain.

Conclusion: The Ottawa Panel was able to demonstrate that the massage interventions are effective for relieving immediate post-treatment neck pain symptoms, but data is insufficient for long-term effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Massage / methods*
  • Neck Pain / therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Range of Motion, Articular