Massage Is Proven To Relieve Psychological And Physiological State Of Patients With Chronic Tension Headache Headache
Researchers at the University of Granada, Spain, are applying a 30-minute massage to ease tension headaches, which are increasingly frequent in our society. The results of this pioneer study were published in the American Journal of Manipulative Physiological and Therapeutics
The results have proven that the psychological and physiological state of patients with tension headache improves within 24 hours after receiving a 30-minute massage.
As researchers explained, tension headaches have an increasing incidence in the population. This type of disorder is usually treated with analgesics, that relieve symptoms temporarily. One of the main causes of this type of headache is the presence of trigger points. The researcher has proven that a 30-minute massage on cervical trigger points improves autonomic nervous system regulation in these patients. Additionally, patients exhibit a better psychological state and “reduce the stress and anxiety associated to such a disturbing disorder”.
Similarly, patients report a perceived relief from symptoms within 24 hours after the massage. This might mean that massages may reduce the pain caused by trigger points, which would involve an improvement in the general state of patients.
Consulting Dr. Google
The quality of online information about the most common sports medicine diagnoses varies widely, according to a study published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Therefore, patients who use the Internet to help make medical decisions need to know that the web may not be giving the whole picture.
Nearly three-quarters of the U.S. population has access to the Internet, and more than half of those people go online for health-related information at least once a month. However, quality controls over the health information found on the web have not grown at the same rate that Internet use has.
The study’s authors chose ten of the most common sports medicine diagnoses and reviewed the online information available on them. The diagnoses reviewed were: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, Medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear , Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tear , Rotator cuff tear , Meniscal tear , Labral tear (shoulder ligament injury),, Tennis elbow , Acromioclavicular joint separation (shoulder separation) , Patellofemoral syndrome (knee pain) , Osteochondral defect (joint defect)
Using the two most frequently used search engines (Google and Yahoo), the authors reviewed the top ten search results for each diagnosis, looking for completeness, correctness, and clarity of the information. They also recorded the source of the information—whether the site’s owner was a nonprofit organization, news source, academic institution, individual, physician, or commercial enterprise.
In terms of content, Dr. Karunakar says, nonprofit sites scored the highest, then academic sites (including medical journal sites), and then certain non-sales-oriented commercial sites (such as WebMD and eMedicine). The least accurate information sources were newspaper articles and personal web sites. Commercial sites with a financial interest in the diagnosis, such as those sponsored by companies selling a drug or treatment device, were very common but frequently incomplete.
“About 20 percent of the sites that turned up in the top ten results were sponsored sites,” Dr. Karunakar says. “These site owners are motivated to promote their product, so the information found there may be biased. We also found that these sites rarely mentioned the risks or complications associated with treatment as they are trying to represent their product in the best possible light.”
The study’s authors suggest that patients be counseled to avoid commercial Web sites, with the exception of the most reputable sites, such as WebMD and eMedicine, and look for the seal of compliance for transparency and accountability from the Health On the Net Foundation (HON).
Does massage therapy reduce cortisol?
It is frequently asserted that massage therapy reduces cortisol levels, and that this mechanism is the cause of its benefits including relief from anxiety, depression, and pain. However reviews of massage therapy research are not in agreement on the existence or magnitude of such a cortisol reduction effect, or the likelihood that it plays such a causative role. Researchers led by Christopher Moyer conduct a literature review of massage therapy's effect on cortisol. The study is being published in Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.
Their review and analysis found that massage therapy's effect on cortisol is generally very small and, in most cases, not statistically distinguishable from zero. The authors concluded that cortisol cannot be the cause of massage therapy's well-established and statistically larger beneficial effects on anxiety, depression, and pain. Other causal mechanisms, which are still to be identified, must be responsible for massage therapy's clinical benefits.
Regular stretch does not increase muscle extensibility
A randomized controlled trial by researchers from University of Sydney published in Scandinavian Journal of Mediciene Science Sports Feb 2010 evaluated whether regular stretch increases hamstring muscle extensibility.
Sixty healthy individuals were randomly allocated to an experimental or a control group. The experimental group attended supervised stretch sessions where they stretched the hamstring muscles of a randomly allocated leg for 30 min five times a week for 6 weeks. The control group did not attend any stretch sessions during this period. A purpose built device was used to measure passive hip flexion during a straight leg-raise manoeuvre with the application of a standardized and non-standardized stretch torque.
The results show that stretch intervention did not increase passive hip flexion when measured with a standardized stretch torque. It did, however, increase passive hip flexion when measured without a standardized stretch torque.
The researchers concluded that six weeks of sustained 30-min daily stretch does not increase the extensibility of the hamstring muscle of healthy individuals. It does, however, improve stretch tolerance leading to increased joint range of motion without any actual improvements in muscle extensibility.
The study concluded that stretching do not show a mechanical cause, but increases the ability to withstand increased pain, allowing the stretch.
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