Effects of foot massage on relieving pain, anxiety and improving quality of life of patients undergone a cervical spine surgery

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2021 Jan 19;19(1):22. doi: 10.1186/s12955-021-01667-2.


Background: Long-term recovery of patients undergone cervical spine surgery is of paramount importance to improve their quality of life. In this study we aimed to evaluate the effects of foot massage on relieving pain and anxiety of patients with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

Methods: Enrolled patients undergone ACDF and diagnosed with anxiety disorder at least six months before surgery were treated with 10-min foot massage on a daily basis for four weeks using sweet almond oil. Patients were assessed by neck pain visual analog pain scale (NP-VAS), neck disability index (NDI) and self-rating anxiety scale.

Results: More significant relief in NP-VAS was observed in patients who received foot massage treatment. No significant difference in NDI reduction was seen in patients with or without the treatment. Intervention group demonstrated less anxiety during follow-up (p = 0.021) compared to the control group and more reduction compared to baseline (p = 0.046). In terms of quality of life, while both groups demonstrated improvement in pain relief (p = 0.015 for the intervention group and p = 0.037 for the control group), only the intervention group showed improved mental function (p = 0.031).

Conclusion: This study found that foot massage was effective in alleviating pain and anxiety, while improving quality of life in patients undergone ACDF, indicating that this intervention should be considered in the clinical management of these patients.

Keywords: Cervical spine surgery; Foot massage; Pain and anxiety relief; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Diskectomy / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / therapy*
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life
  • Spinal Fusion / rehabilitation