Text Size Decrease the text size. Reset the text size. Increase the text size.
Office icon Office
Office photo

3605 Long Beach Blvd., Suite 100
Long Beach, CA 90807
Phone: 562.981.2200

Neck pain is a common health problem in the United States. People suffering from neck pain often turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. Although therapeutic massage is one of the most popular CAM therapies for neck pain, little is known about its effectiveness for this condition.

In an NCCAM-funded study conducted at the Group Health Center in Seattle, 64 adults with neck pain persisting for at least 12 weeks were randomly assigned to receive either massage or a self-care book. The massage group had up to 10 treatments over a 10-week period, provided by licensed practitioners who used a variety of common Swedish and clinical massage techniques and also made typical self-care suggestions. After 4, 10, and 26 weeks, the researchers interviewed participants to assess function (Neck Disability Index), symptom bothersomeness, and other measures.

After 10 weeks, the massage group was more likely than the self-care-book group to have clinically significant improvement in function and symptoms. At 26 weeks, the massage group tended to be more likely to report improvement in function but not in specific symptoms. For both function and symptoms, mean differences between the two groups were strongest at 4 weeks and not evident by 26 weeks. At all followup points, the massage group was more likely than the self-care-book group to report global improvement ratings of "better" or "much better." At 26 weeks, medication use had increased 14 percent for the self-care-book group but had not changed for the massage group. There were no serious adverse experiences reported.

The researchers concluded that therapeutic massage is safe and may have benefits for treating chronic neck pain, at least in the short term. They recommended studies to determine optimal massage treatment, as well as larger, more comprehensive studies to follow patients for at least 1 year.


  1. Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Hawkes RJ, et al. Randomized trial of therapeutic massage for chronic neck pain. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2009; 25(3): 233 - 238.
  2. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) in association with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Acknowledgements and Notices

IMPORTANT:  The information on this website is NOT intended to substitute for the expertise and advice of a qualified healthcare professional. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with a qualified healthcare professional.

The mention of any product, service, or therapy is NOT an endorsement.

Neither the author nor the publisher shall be responsible for any damage or harm caused by the improper use of information in this website.

Any diagnostic or treatment options presented herein are for general informational purposes and may NOT necessarily represent tests or treatments that your healthcare professional performs, provides, or would recommend. The information is simply provided for educational purposes and in a good faith effort to help patients make a more informed decision about their healthcare.

Furthermore, any tests or treatments presented herein may NOT be comprehensive with regard to all the diagnostic or therapeutic options that may be available for any given medical condition or disease. Accordingly, you should always discuss any decisions about treatment or care with a qualified healthcare professional.

This website may feature actors, models, or artistic representations.  The actors and models may NOT have actually used or provided any product or service described or promoted in this website. These actors and models may be identified with the notification: "Model" or "Model – not actual patient". If actual patients are featured, they may be identified with the notification: "Actual subject", "Real subject", and/or "Before vs. After".

Artistic renderings of any medical condition, disease, or treatment in this website are for illustrative purposes only and may NOT be a realistic depiction of actual medical conditions, diseases, patients, or treatments. Actual outcomes of any medical condition or actual results achieved by any treatment may be significantly different due to variations in the delivery of healthcare and the individual circumstances of each patient.

"Study Finds Benefits of Therapeutic Massage for Chronic Neck Pain"
For inquires regarding the information on this web page, please contact
Rayhawk Corporation (www.rayhawk.com).