Effectiveness of massage therapy on fatigue and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Mult Scler J Exp Transl Clin. 2021 Jun 14;7(2):20552173211022779. doi: 10.1177/20552173211022779. eCollection 2021 Apr-Jun.


Background: Fatigue and pain are prevalent symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and frequent complaint in MS patients, which reduce their quality of life. This study aimed to assess the effect of massage therapy on pain and fatigue in MS Patients.

Method: The original and Persian databases were searched included PubMed, web of science, embase, ovid, scopus, and the Cochrane Library, SID, and Iranedex from inception to November 2020. Studies that reported the effect of massage on fatigue and pain were included. Two investigators extracted all relevant data, independently. For deriving analysis, mean difference (MD) and standardized mean difference (SMD) were used.

Result: Ten studies were eligible acoording criteria. The effect of massage on fatigue showed significant improvement (-1.62; 95% CL -2.40, -0.83; p < .00001), also results of the systematic review showed a significant reduction in pain severity.

Conclusion: Massage as a complementary and non-pharmacological therapy might have been associated with alleviating fatigue and pain in M.S. patients. Based on the current study, massage intervention for MS patients could have possible clinical value for palliating pain and fatigue and improving quality of life; however, this matter needs further and more significant trial studies.

Keywords: Massage therapy; fatigue; meta-analysis; multiple sclerosis; pain; systematic review.