Description of massage interventions in randomised clinical trials for neck pain: a review using the TIDieR checklist

Iqra Ishaq, Ian W Skinner, Poonam Mehta, Arianne P Verhagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: How interventions are reported can impact the ability to implement these intervention in clinical practice. Therefore, our aim is to assess the reporting of massage interventions in randomised controlled trials for patients with neck pain.

DATA SOURCES: This manuscript concerns a secondary analysis of trials evaluating massage for neck pain selected for a scoping review. An updated literature search was completed using four databases to 31 July 2023.

REVIEW METHODS: Trials were selected that evaluate massage interventions. Two independent assessors extracted descriptive information, methodological quality (PEDro-scale) and assessed completeness of reporting of the intervention using the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDier-checklist). We present frequencies of the extracted data.

RESULTS: We included 35 trials (2840 patients) with neck pain. Most trials (n = 23) included patients with chronic non-specific neck pain. We found a wide variety of massage interventions from Chinese massage, Swedish massage to myofascial release. In addition, the dose, number of sessions and the duration of the intervention varied widely. The methodological quality overall was fair to good (varied between 4-8/10), and we found a moderate completeness of reporting. All trials provided the name of the intervention, 30 (86%) provided a rationale and 26 (74%) trials described details of the massage intervention.

CONCLUSION: The massage interventions were moderately described in trials in patients with neck pain, but provided enough information to guide the decision making for designing future Network Meta-analysis as to what trials need to be considered when grouping massage interventions in a clinically relevant way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-392
Number of pages18
JournalClinical Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Early online date31 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


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