Effects of adjunctive Swedish massage and vibration therapy on short-term postoperative outcomes: a randomized, controlled trial.

Taylor AG, Galper DI, Taylor P, Rice LW, Andersen W, Irvin W, Wang XQ, Harrell FE
J Altern Complement Med. 2003 9 (1): 77-89

PMID: 12676037 · DOI:10.1089/107555303321222964

OBJECTIVE - To examine the effects of adjunctive postoperative massage and vibration therapy on short-term postsurgical pain, negative affect, and physiologic stress reactivity.

DESIGN - Prospective, randomized controlled trial. The treatment groups were: (1) usual postoperative care (UC); (2) UC plus massage therapy; or (3) UC plus vibration therapy.

SETTING - The University of Virginia Hospital Surgical Units, Gynecology-Oncology Clinic, and General Clinical Research Center.

SUBJECTS - One hundred and five (N = 105) women who underwent an abdominal laparotomy for removal of suspected cancerous lesions.

INTERVENTIONS - All patients received UC with analgesic medication. Additionally, the massage group received standardized 45-minute sessions of gentle Swedish massage on the 3 consecutive evenings after surgery and the vibration group received 20-minute sessions of inaudible vibration therapy (physiotones) on the 3 consecutive evenings after surgery, as well as additional sessions as desired.

OUTCOME MEASURES - Sensory pain, affective pain, anxiety, distress, analgesic use, systolic blood pressure, 24-hour urine free cortisol, number of postoperative complications, and days of hospitalization.

RESULTS - On the day of surgery, massage was more effective than UC for affective (p = 0.0244) and sensory pain (p = 0.0428), and better than vibration for affective pain (p = 0.0015). On postoperative day 2, massage was more effective than UC for distress (p = 0.0085), and better than vibration for sensory pain (p = 0.0085). Vibration was also more effective than UC for sensory pain (p = 0.0090) and distress (p = .0090). However, after controlling for multiple comparisons and multiple outcomes, no significant differences were found.

CONCLUSIONS - Gentle Swedish massage applied postoperatively may have minor effects on short-term sensory pain, affective pain, and distress among women undergoing an abdominal laparotomy for removal of suspected malignant tissues.

MeSH Terms (16)

Abdomen Abdominal Pain Adult Female Humans Massage Middle Aged Pain, Postoperative Pain Measurement Patient Satisfaction Prospective Studies Time Factors Treatment Outcome United States Vibration Women's Health

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