The Effect of Massage on Acute Postoperative Pain in Critically and Acutely Ill Adults Post-Thoracic Surgery: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
CCCF ePoster library. Boitor M. Nov 1, 2016; 150955; 74
Madalina Boitor
Madalina Boitor
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Topic: Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, or Meta-synthesis

The Effect of Massage on Acute Postoperative Pain in Critically and Acutely Ill Adults Post-Thoracic Surgery: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Madalina Boitor, N, PhD (C)1; Céline Gélinas, N, PhD1,2; Melissa Richard-Lalonde, MSc1; Brett D. Thombs, PhD3

1 Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

2 Centre for Nursing Research and Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

3 Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Departments of Psychiatry; Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health; Medicine; Educational and Counselling Psychology; and Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Grant acknowledgements:
There was no direct funding for this study. Ms. Boitor is supported by doctoral bursaries from the Quebec Nursing Intervention Research Network (QNIRN), Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur de la Recherche et de la Science (MESRS), and McGill Nursing Collaborative Fellowship. Dr. Gélinas receives support from a Research Career Award from FRQS. Dr. Thombs receives support from an Investigator Award from the Arthritis Society.


Society of Critical Care Medicine practice guidelines describe a lack of clear evidence on the effectiveness of massage for pain control.
To assess the effect of massage on acute post-operative pain in critically and acutely ill adults post-thoracic surgery.
Data Sources: Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsychInfo, Web of Science, Scopus and Cochrane Library databases were searched for eligible articles in any language on October 20, 2015. Additionally, we consulted reference lists of included articles and other reviews, searched clinical trial registries, and contacted authors of included trials to identify unpublished trials.
Study Selection: Eligible studies were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the effect of massage compared to attention control, sham massage or standard care alone on acute pain intensity post-thoracic surgery.
Data Extraction: Data were extracted independently by two investigators using a pre-defined data extraction form. Risk of bias was evaluated using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool.
Twelve RCTs were included. Nine evaluated massage administered in addition to standard analgesic care, including 2 that compared massage to attention control or sham massage in the intensive care unit (ICU), 6 that compared massage to standard analgesic care alone early post-ICU discharge, and 1 that compared massage to both attention control and standard care in the ICU. Patients who received massage in addition to analgesia reported less pain (0-10 scale) compared to attention control or sham massage (3 RCTs; N=462; mean difference -0.80, 95% confidence interval [CI] -1.25 to -0.35; p<0.001; I2=13%) and standard care alone (7 RCTs; N=1,087; mean difference -0.85, 95% CI -1.28 to -0.42; p=0.003; I2=70%). There was concern about risk of bias related to blinding of participants and study personnel. Publication bias could not be ruled out.
Massage, done in addition to pharmacological analgesia, appears to reduce acute post-thoracic surgery pain intensity.


No references.

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