Massage is a viable treatment for shoulder tightness, according to new research.

The investigators set out to study the effect and predictors of effectiveness of massage in the treatment of patients with posterior shoulder tightness.

They found that massage is an effective treatment for patients with posterior shoulder tightness, but was less effective in patients with longer duration of symptoms, higher functional limitation, and less posterior deltoid tightness, according to an abstract published on

This randomized, controlled trial was conducted in a hospital-based outpatient practice. Forty-three women and 17 men (mean age = 54 years, range 43-73 years) with posterior shoulder tightness participated and were randomized into massage and control groups, according to the abstract.

A physical therapist provided the massage on the posterior deltoid, infraspinatus and teres minor of the involved shoulder for 18 minutes (about six minutes for each muscle) two times a week for four weeks.

For the control group, one therapist applied light hand touch on the muscles 10 minutes two times a week for four weeks.

Glenohumeral internal rotation ROM, functional status and muscle tightness were the main outcomes, the abstract noted. Additionally, the potential factors on the effectiveness of massage were analyzed by multivariate logistic regression.

For this analysis, patients with functional score improvement at least 20 percent after massage were considered responsive, and the others were considered nonresponsive.

The research is running in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.

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