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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Oct 2022 - 14 Oct 2022

2022 Oct 07

J Integr Complement Med

The Efficacy and Safety of Manual Therapy for Symptoms Associated with Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.


Zhang T, Yan H-X, An Y, Yin L, Sun P-P, Zhao J-N, Yan J-T
J Integr Complement Med. 2022 Oct 07.
PMID: 36206232.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological autoimmune disease, affecting the psychological and physical health of patients. Manual therapies have been proven to relieve pain, strengthen muscles, and improve bladder and bowel problems with a high safety and low adverse event profile. Previous studies have reported the results of manual therapy in alleviating symptoms associated with MS, but the conclusions were controversial. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to comprehensively analyze and determine the efficacy and safety of manual therapy in relieving symptoms associated with MS. Eight electronic databases were searched from inception of the database to April 30, 2021. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using manual therapy in patients to relieve symptoms associated with MS were considered eligible for this study. Two reviewers independently extracted data using pre-established standards. Finally, 10 eligible RCTs with 631 subjects were included in this meta-analysis. These data establish that massage therapy can significantly ameliorate fatigue, pain, and spasms, while reflexology was only effective in relieving pain in MS patients. No adverse events were reported in eligible RCTs. The present study provides strong evidence that massage therapy could alleviate fatigue, pain, and spasms in MS patients, while reflexology plays a positive role in relieving pain. Physicians could consider massage therapy or reflexology as a safe and effective complementary and alternative treatment. Larger RCTs with higher methodological quality are needed in the future, which aim to provide more meaningful evidence for further proof of efficacy.