Knee arthritis pain is reduced and range of motion is increased following moderate pressure massage therapy

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015 Nov;21(4):233-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.08.002. Epub 2015 Aug 13.


Background: The literature on massage therapy effects on knee pain suggests that pain was reduced based on self-report, but little is known about range of motion (ROM) effects.

Methods: Medical School staff and faculty who had knee arthritis pain were randomly assigned to a moderate pressure massage therapy or a waitlist control group (24 per group). Self-reports included the WOMAC (pain, stiffness and function) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. ROM and ROM-related pain were assessed before and after the last sessions.

Results: The massage group showed an immediate post-massage increase in ROM and a decrease in ROM-associated pain. On the last versus the first day of the study, the massage group showed greater increases in ROM and decreases in ROM-related pain as well as less self-reported pain and sleep disturbances than the waitlist control group.

Discussion: These data highlight the effectiveness of moderate pressure massage therapy for increasing ROM and lessening ROM-related pain and long-term pain and sleep disturbances.

Keywords: Knee arthritis pain; Moderate pressure massage.

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia / physiopathology*
  • Arthralgia / therapy*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology*
  • Massage / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*