Objective: This study analyzed and compared the effects of manual lymph drainage therapy (MLDT) and connective tissue massage (CTM) in women with primary fibromyalgia (PFM).
Methods: The study design was a randomized controlled trial. Fifty women with primary fibromyalgia completed the study. The patients were divided randomly into 2 groups. Whereas 25 of them received manual lymph drainage therapy, the other 25 underwent connective tissue massage. The treatment program was carried out 5 times a week for 3 weeks in each group. Pain was evaluated by a visual analogue scale and algometry. The Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) and Nottingham Health Profile were used to describe health status and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Wilcoxon signed rank test and Mann-Whitney U test were used to analyze the data.
In both groups, significant improvements were found regarding pain intensity, pain pressure threshold, and HRQoL (P < .05).
However, the scores of FIQ-7 (P = .006), FIQ-9 (P = .006), and FIQ-total (P = .010) were significantly lower in the manual lymph drainage therapy group than they were in the connective tissue massage group at the end of treatment.
• For this particular group of patients, both manual lymph drainage therapy and connective tissue massage appear to yield improvements in terms of pain, health status, and HRQoL.
• The results indicate that these manual therapy techniques might be used in the treatment of primary fibromyalgia.
• However, manual lymph drainage therapy was found to be more effective than connective tissue massage according to some subitems of FIQ (morning tiredness and anxiety) and FIQ total score.
• Manual lymph drainage therapy might be preferred; however, further long-term follow-up studies are needed.
Source: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Feb 2009;32(2):127-33. PMID: 19243724, by School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Ahi Evran University, Kirsehir, Turkey. PMID: 19243724, by Ekici G, Bakar Y, Akbayrak T, Yuksel I. [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]